Santa Clara County health officer warns of 'very dark days ahead' in emotional pandemic update

Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, the public face of the ’s pandemic response, fought back tears in providing a blunt projection for the days ahead as the COVID-19 crisis continues unabated.

"We are in very bad shape here with the pandemic," Dr. Cody explained during Tuesday’s meeting. The typically stoic Dr. Cody, who led the way in organizing counties to initiate an unprecedented stay-at-home order in mid-March, warned of "very ahead," cautioning that "we cannot normalize this" and recommending "more serious actions…a statewide action to keep people from dying."

The comments came just a day before the fell under the state’s mandated 15% ICU capacity Wednesday, triggering a regional stay-at-home order crafted by Gov. and the California Department of .

While the order restricts restaurants to take-out and delivery, and curbs capacity in retail and , some believe the guidelines aren’t going far enough as the state continues to break records for deaths and new cases in a single day.

Santa Clara County health officer warns of 'very dark days ahead' in emotional pandemic update
A nurse writes a note on a window as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus COVID-19 patient in the unit (I.C.U.) at Regional on May 21, 2020 in , California. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/

"We’re in a place that we never expected to be and certainly never wanted to be, especially given all of the tremendous work and collective sacrifice by every single member of our community," Dr. Cody added.

Her county, hit particularly hard by the pandemic, surpassed 50,000 total coronavirus cases this week. As of Wednesday night, 561 people have died of complications related to COVID-19 in .

In reporting the number of new deaths Tuesday morning, Dr. Cody could be heard crying, eventually regaining her composure. "The pandemic locally is out of control…and our healthcare system is quite stretched, not yet to the but steadily marching towards that point," she said.

The county will begin administering the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to staff at skilled Thursday.

In addition to over 17,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, said they expected another 39,300 doses of the yet-to-be-approved Moderna vaccine.