A new county map shows just how hard East San Jose and South County have been ravaged by COVID-19, prompting health leaders to launch new drop-in vaccination sites in those areas.
The new map breaks down COVID-19 cases by ZIP code in the county. Each ZIP code’s cumulative case count, population, and rate per 100,000 residents is calculated and accessible to the public.
Each ZIP code is colored in varying shades of blue. Areas with higher rates of cases show up darker than areas with lower case rates.
A second dashboard breaks down cases by city. San Jose, Gilroy and Morgan hill have the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission, according to the dashboard.
The ZIP codes with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases are 95122, 95020, 95127, 95111 and 95116.
On Thursday, county officials announced that they’re opening two pop-up clinics for residents in these hard-hit areas, with more possibly on the way. One will be in East San Jose on Story Road, and another at the Gilroy Senior Center.
“East San Jose and Gilroy residents continue to face the highest risk transmission, and these communities also face barriers to vaccine access,” said Rocio Luna, deputy director for the county’s public health department. “We know that technology and transportation challenges are obstacles to accessing vaccine.”
The county’s Board of Supervisors this week also received new data showing vaccine distribution per census tract across the county. The charts are colored with shades of green, with darker shades indicating areas where more people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Several areas of the county have more than 33% of their population over the age of 65 vaccinated, including the western part of the county, encompassing the Saratoga, Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills communities, as well as scattered areas of San Jose.
County Executive Jeff Smith said the charts will be up on the county’s vaccine dashboard within the next week or so.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez said in order to reach the county’s goal of vaccinating 85% of residents, vaccine clinics must be embedded in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.
“Traditional efforts aren’t going to work everywhere, this is not a cookie cutter situation,” Chavez said. “In each community we’re customizing our approach to make sure we’re getting to everybody who needs services.”
The East San Jose clinic will be open starting at 8:30 a.m. every Thursday and Friday. The Gilroy clinic will be open at 8 a.m. every Wednesday. Each clinic has the capacity to vaccinate about 200 people per day.
The sites will still only vaccinate residents 65 years and older. Santa Clara County has more than 300,000 residents in that age category.
County health officials warn that just because a ZIP code has fewer cases than another, it doesn’t mean that one neighborhood is safer. Increased testing in some areas can also affect ZIP code counts and rates, either positively or negatively.
The news comes a day after the appearance of the new South African variant of COVID-19 in Santa Clara and Alameda counties. The county also announced this week that overall cases are decreasing in the county and mass vaccination site is now open at Levi’s Stadium.
“This vaccine clinic will help vaccinate our most vulnerable seniors,” said East San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco. “We’re putting them smack in the middle of the neighborhoods most hardest hit.”
To date, health care providers in Santa Clara County have received more than 377,000 doses of vaccine. About 226,000 first doses have been administered, while 60,000 people have received both doses.