South Bay Hit Hard by COVID-19 Pandemic

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As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the Bay Area, some of the biggest spikes are in southern Santa Clara County.

Gilroy’s only hospital is struggling to keep up with demand and on Monday, community leaders sounded the alarm and tried to explain the spike - while pleading with people to double down on efforts to prevent the spread.

At Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, the ICU was full and on average, they had to transfer one to two patients a day to other hospitals. 

“We started canceling elective surgeries so that those nurses from our surgery department are now being deployed to help out in the ICU,the emergency department and medsurge,” Gloria dela Merced said.

But it's not enough, with the ICU full, transfers to other hospitals have become a daily event - sometimes even requiring a move to another county. While some subacute patients are now being transferred here to De Paul Health Center in Morgan Hill .

“It’s really helping to unload those patients that are stable enough to be discharged but not go home,” said Merced.

Gilroy and Morgan Hill have more cases than nearly anywhere else in the county, which is why beds are filling up fast. But why?

“We know there are several factors that are playing into the high number of cases one is density the number of people in the population that live together in a small space and the other is theirs and the percentage of the population that is doing essential work,” said Maribel Martinez, Santa Clara County Public Information Officer.

And while only one fourth of the entire country's population are latinos, they make up nearly 52% of all the county's covid cases .

Which is why on Monday, community health leaders sounded the alarm in Spanish and English urging people in the region to stay home on new year’s eve and wear masks.

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