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Health Officials Confirm 2nd Coronavirus Death In Santa Clara County

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Health officials in the South Bay early Friday evening confirmed the second coronavirus death in Santa Clara County.

According to officials, the patient who died was an adult woman in her 80s. She was hospitalized March 9 and was among the COVID-19 cases reported by the County Public Health Department on March 13.

The Public Health Department said it was saddened to share the news and expressed its condolences to the woman's family. The death was the fifth death from coronavirus in the state.

The death was the latest development in the Bay Area county that has been hit hardest by the coronavirus.

Earlier Friday, officials banned all gatherings of more than 100 people and announced that all public schools will be closed beginning Monday to limit the spread of the coronavirus.


The announcement began to have a ripple effect in the community. Carlos Diaz, who is a deejay and is the owner of Knight Sounds Entertainment in San Jose, said he immediately had four clients cancel their events.

"It's unprecedented, " Diaz said. "We had four cancellations for this Saturday; those four events alone could pay the rent for multiple months."

He's not alone. His entire industry is expected to feel the impact of the coronavirus impact.

"Unfortunately, we had a bunch of cancellations last minute," said Ramyar Siasi.

He's owned Blackistone Florist in Saratoga for 37 years, and said he's had future wedding parties cancel as well as a bridal show that could've brought him potential clients.

He said Santa Clara county's ban would not only impact him, but venues, caterers and photographers in the entertainment and wedding industry as well.

Next door, at Bijan Bakery & Cafe, the owners said sales are down about 40% as customers cancel their cake orders.

"It's a big part of our business and so we're concerned about going forward," Bijan owner Curtis Alling said.

He and Diaz said they're hoping government officials consider giving small business owners relief if they start to struggle in paying rent, similar to relief being given to renters during the outbreak.

"All the deejays and musicians bars and nightclubs, I can't even think of what's going to happen, because if we're going to honor that, basically, we shut down," Diaz said.

On Monday, county officials announced a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people to limit the spread of coronavirus. The new ban, of 100 people, will be in effect for a minimum of three weeks and goes into effect 12 a.m. Saturday.

The ban also includes restrictions on gatherings of 35 to 100 people, ensuring organizers have a six-foot distance between attendees, that they prevent the attendance of anyone with sickness, fever, or symptoms, and additional guidelines.

According to the health department, a gathering is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, theater, restaurant, bar, or any other confined indoor or confined outdoor space.

Dr. Sara Cody, the county's director of public health, said the county is following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for testing, through support from academic and commercial labs. The county did not confirm how many people have been tested, but said capacity for testing will expand in the coming weeks.

"This is a rapidly changing situation," Cody said. "I think that right now it's a priority that people with more severe symptoms get tested."

As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, 79 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Santa Clara County – 36 more cases than were reported on Monday and an increase of more than three-fold within the last week.

Of these cases, 37 people are hospitalized, and 43 cases were contracted from community transmission, not travel. The county reported its first death on Monday.

"Based on these data and patterns of disease that we see around the world, we know that the outbreak of COVID-19 in our county will continue to accelerate and we anticipate many, many more cases in the days and weeks to come," Cody said.

Officials also confirmed that coronavirus outbreak among San Jose firefighters grew to eight confirmed cases Friday with 46 others who may have been exposed still being monitored.

In Santa Clara County, there are more presumed community transmission cases than there are cases contracted by travel and person-to-person combined. Nearly half of the known cases reported here have been hospitalized.

Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent, announced the closure of all schools from March 16 to April 3. District offices will be open for essential services.

Jeff Smith said the county has purchased several hotels in case anyone in the homeless population contracts coronavirus and is required to self-quarantine. Smith said no unsheltered people have been quarantined as of Friday.

Sheriff Laurie Smith said two inmates at a county jail were exposed to one visitor who tested positive for coronavirus, but they were quarantined and tested and no cases have arisen as of Friday. The Sheriff's Office is working with courts to explore the possibility of postponing court dates and moving inmates out of jails if they are eligible for electronic monitoring, with an emphasis on keeping the public safe.

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. KPIX 5's Maria Medina and Bay City News Service contributed to this report

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