SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Santa Clara health officials reported Thursday there had been 416 new COVID cases with six additional deaths pushing the toll of fatalities within the county to 476 since the pandemic’s outbreak began in February.

The number of available ICU beds in county continued to decline, falling to 56. Last Friday, the county reported there were 69 ICU beds available.

“Heartfelt condolences to patients and their families and friends,” county health officials tweeted.

Santa Clara County has been ground zero in the Bay Area ever since the pandemic first erupted. There have been 32,454 confirmed cases in the Silicon Valley. The county has recorded 476 deaths since 57-year-old Patricia Dowd, a senior manager for a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm, was the first in the nation to died of the illness on Feb. 6th.

At a Wednesday news conference, Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing Officer for the County of Santa Clara, raised the alarm over the surge and its impact on local hospital.

“We are really, really concerned,” he said. “All of the metrics that we have been following, that have done well in previous months, are now going up very steeply. Our positivity rate in our county is rising and especially in our most effected communities. The Latinx community is rising even faster.”

“Our case reports tell us that our numbers are higher than they have ever been,” he added. “If we look back in July, when we were really worried about an increase then, we saw 385 cases as a maximum. Our numbers are much higher. We were at 512 cases today (Tuesday). Tomorrow may be higher and we expect that to be the case.”

Of particular concern was the strain the surge was placing on local hospitals.

“We can’t depend on our counties next to us (to admit Santa Clara County patients) because they are under the same stress,” he said. “They can’t provide us with beds in their counties. So we are on our own and our hospitals are hurting.”