SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA — The Santa Clara County Public Health Department reported 1,311 additional coronavirus cases Wednesday.
The latest report brings the countywide case count to 59,923.
The county reported 17 additional coronavirus-related fatalities Wednesday, bringing its COVID-19 death toll to 632.
There were 631 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Santa Clara County as of Wednesday, of which 137 were being treated in intensive care units.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area and beyond, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney introduced legislation Tuesday that would create a fund to help the city's struggling music and entertainment venues, which have had their doors closed since March.
According to Haney, the San Francisco Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund is desperately needed as many of the businesses are facing permanent closure as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
"What this pandemic has done to our economy and our way of life has been nothing short of a nightmare, and for our city's venues, there has been no reprieve.
They were the first to close and will likely be the among the last to reopen," Haney said in statement.
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday to reverse the planned layoffs of nearly 150 employees, effective upon a federal COVID-19-related stimulus bill becoming law.
The board voted in November to eliminate 145 filled staff positions and 59 vacant ones, with the layoffs taking effect in early January.
The layoffs were prompted by a drop in transit use and loss of revenue for the district during the pandemic.
Directors said at the November meeting that staff reductions would help the district cut costs without raising toll prices.
Santa Clara County officials on Wednesday issued one of their most urgent pleas since the coronavirus pandemic began, calling for residents to avoid gathering for Christmas and other holidays as COVID-19 is set to be the county's third-leading cause of death in 2020.
COVID-19 places behind only cancer and heart disease among the most frequent causes of death in Santa Clara County this year, according to the county, which has confirmed 632 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday.
The county is also in the throes of its worst surge of cases since the beginning of the pandemic, partly tied to gatherings of friends and family during Thanksgiving, according to county Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.
Cody predicted the county's hospital capacity would be completely overwhelmed if gatherings for Christmas and other holidays cause the surge to worsen.
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There have been 1,982,643 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 23,352 coronavirus-related deaths in California as of Wednesday afternoon according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The United States had 18,402,363 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 325,358 coronavirus-related fatalities as of Wednesday afternoon.
There have been 78,494,742 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,726,329 coronavirus-related deaths reported globally as of Wednesday afternoon.
— Bay City News contributed to this report