New guidance as COVID cases soar with fewer hospitalizations

This week as hundreds of thousands of Santa Clara County children return to the classroom, school districts are hustling to provide information and resources, and parents are flocking to testing locations and social media sites with questions, opinions and information. Here’s the latest on local data and requirements.

The Santa Clara County department of Public Health today reported a 7-day rolling daily average of 1,918 cases, an increase of 1,000 percent from December 1, when the daily count sat at just 192 cases.

Case rates also continue to rise. As of January 5, the County website reports a 7-day daily average of 76 cases for every 100,000 individuals among all vaccinated residents ages 5 and up; that figure is up sixfold since Thanksgiving, and had remained low through the first two weeks of December. Among unvaccinated residents, the 7-day daily average leaped from the mid-20s in late November to 237 as of Wednesday. The spike comes even as 92 percent of County residents age 12 and up are considered ‘fully vaccinated,’ and 82 percent of residents of all ages are fully vaccinated. 

Despite the surge, so far, fewer cases are landing in the hospital. Santa Clara County reported 305 COVID-positive patients were hospitalized as of Wednesday, roughly half of the peak seen in January 2021, when 726 patients were hospitalized. Currently 65 COVID-positive patients are in the ICU, compared to 165 one year ago. 34 ICU beds remain available in the County.

In light of the winter surge, isolation recommendations continue to shift. The County has aligned with new state guidelines and now instructs those who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate for 5 days, as opposed to 10, if symptoms are not present or you have tested negative and symptoms are resolving. Learn more about Santa Clara County’s guidelines here.

As isolation recommendations soften, the state mask mandate has been extended as of Wednesday. The California Department of Public Health now mandates that masks must be worn in indoor public spaces and workspaces, regardless of vaccination status, through February 15, 2022. 

You can find locations offering boosters and stay up to date with the latest vaccine information at