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Severe Outbreaks in Santa Clara County's Long-Term Care, Homeless Shelters

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Health officials in Santa Clara County are warning that an increase in COVID-19 transmission is leading to more severe outbreaks in long-term care facilities and homeless shelters.

The county says it's conducting investigations into multiple outbreaks at long-term care facilities in San Jose. Two facilities, identified by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Mercury News as Amberwood Gardens and Skyline Healthcare Center, have reported 151 and 86 cases, respectively.

The virus is also making its way into homeless shelters, where relatively few cases of COVID-19 have appeared since March. The Boccardo Reception Center, an emergency shelter in San Jose for homeless people, has reported 60 new cases of the virus since late November. South Hall, another homeless shelter in San Jose, has reported seven new cases since Nov. 18, according to a county press release.

Those who tested positive were placed in hotel rooms for the duration of their quarantine, the release said. The county is urging residents to wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid contact with people outside their household.

During a press conference Thursday, Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer Dr. George Han said the general surge of cases in the county is spilling over into group settings.

“People who reside and work at congregate settings are members of our community, so what happens as cases increase in our community, that increases the chances that more cases will be introduced into the congregate setting," he said.

Han urged residents to go above and beyond in reducing their chances of catching and spreading the virus.

“It is more dangerous right now in our community than at any other point in the pandemic,” Han said.

Marco Siler-Gonzales (@mijo_marco)

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