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Reopening: Santa Clara County Experiencing Increase In New COVID-19 Cases

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- As the Bay Area reopens, a concerning trend has emerged out of Santa Clara County. On Monday, county health officials reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 new deaths.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody has warned that too quick of a pace of reopening the county from several months of being shelter in place will result in an increase in cases.

"We are beginning to see a little bit of an uptick in our hospitalizations, which likely reflects the easing we did in the middle of May," Cody said during the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Santa Clara County has been the hardest hit in the San Francisco Bay Area region by the spread of the virus. County statistics show that 2973 local residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the outbreak began with 145 deaths and currently 73 people being hospitalized.

But as high as the personal costs have been, it could have been much worse.

A new study out of UC-Berkeley found that sacrifices such as staying in, closing businesses, canceling events and social distancing worked to slow the virus.

"Never in human history have so many lives been saved in such a short period of time," said Solomon Hsiang, Director of UC-Berkeley's Global Policy Laboratory. "I don't think it's ever happened. And I think we all did that together. It was a collective action on a global scale that I think people should feel really proud of."

The proof is in the data.

UC-Berkeley researchers looked at policies in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and the US from January until early April. The study found that infections were growing nearly 40 percent per day on average, before emergency policies slowed the spread. This move avoided 530 million infections across those 6 countries.

"San Francisco's one of the first cities to really do a shelter-in-place, so I thought it was a good idea right from the beginning, especially in a kind of city like this where y'all share communal transportation and office space," said Alison Gordon of San Francisco.

The findings come as San Francisco released new guidelines for seeing friends. The city is encouraging people to find an activity outdoors and avoid sharing food or utensils.

 "People should wear masks more, to protect because a lot of friends, Singapore, you know, you have to wear masks," said Gilbert Chow of San Francisco.


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