.One Year from Zero: Covid-19 in Santa Cruz County by the Numbers

On March 6, 2020, the county government confirmed that a resident of Santa Cruz County had tested positive for Covid-19. It was the first case of the emerging coronavirus in Santa Cruz. Health officials, media and residents rushed to make sense of the pandemic’s arrival and what it might mean for the county. 

“While Covid-19 represents a serious public health threat, the risk to Santa Cruz County residents remains low,” reported NBC Bay Area in an article on March 7. “But officials anticipate there will be additional local cases.” 

They weren’t wrong. As of Wednesday, Feb. 25, there have been 14,588 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Santa Cruz County, and 183 county residents have died from the disease. 

We are now approaching the one-year anniversary of the arrival of Covid-19 in our community. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Good Times has brought readers the latest information through live blog updates and in-depth reporting. Every week we report the number of cases, deaths, and ICU beds available in the county. Now, we’ve brought this information together in interactive graphs to show you what nearly year one of the pandemic has meant for Santa Cruz.  

The first two hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients happened nearly four weeks after the first confirmed case on March 6. Since then, there has always been at least one patient hospitalized with Covid-19 in the county. The peak of the third wave came on Jan. 4, when 86 people were hospitalized with Covid-19. Data from The New York Times (see below) reported 10 more deaths due to Covid-19 the following day. 

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ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed availability is a major player in the fight against the pandemic. ICU beds don’t refer to specialized beds, but rather how many patients the ICU can handle. Patients in the ICU are critically ill and require one-on-one nursing. The latest wave of the pandemic overwhelmed ICUs in Santa Cruz County, leaving them with no space for days on end in January and February.

The third wave of the pandemic hit Santa Cruz hard. More people died of Covid-19 in the first 2 months of 2021 than in the entirety of 2020, and most of the people in Santa Cruz who succumbed to the disease in 2020 died in December. 


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