It took over six months for the Bay Area to reach its first 100,000 COVID cases, and it took almost three months to reach 200,000 cases. In the latest surge, across the nine-county region, the cumulative case total is expected to reach 300,000 on Saturday, 25 days after hitting 200,000 on December 15.
As of Saturday morning — with delays between test result reporting and county data reporting — the Bay Area stood at 298,258 cumulative cases of COVID-19. Once totals come in from Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara County which likely reflect testing from the past several days, the 300,000 mark is more than likely to be crossed. (KGO's data journalists said that the Bay Area reached 300,000 on Friday.)
Daily new case numbers remain high, county by county, as new cases reflecting holiday gatherings and travel begin to come in, compounding the existing surge.
In San Francisco, there were 2,073 new cases recorded in the last seven days, for a total of 25,973.
Alameda County now has almost 58,000 cases, and in Santa Clara County, which has the largest population in the Bay Area and continues to have the most daily cases, there have been over 80,400 cases to date.
As SFist reported earlier this week, a surge in COVID deaths that began around the new year has continued through the week. 311 people have died of COVID in the Bay Area since January 1, as of this writing, with over 200 of those in just four days.
San Francisco has had double-digit death counts for several days this week, with 15 new deaths added since Friday.
Also this week, ICU bed availability dropped to 3.5% in the Bay Area, and has possibly dropped further.
"This surge has been relentless," said Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 director Dr. Ahmad Kamal during a Wednesday press briefing, per the Chronicle. "It is straining our health care system to a breaking point."
Dr. Jeffrey Chien, the head of the emergency department at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, said that the hospital has had to get "really creative with places to seat patients," and "The E.R. is full."
Furthering anxiety about the surge is the emergence of the more highly infectious strain of the coronavirus, first seen in the UK, known as B117 — over a dozen cases of which were found in San Diego County earlier this week. And it's likely that the strain has already spread across California undetected.
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