One in 10 Gilroyans have been infected with Covid-19 since the county’s first known case of the virus in late January 2020.

As of Feb. 1, 6,725 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Gilroy since the pandemic began, a little more than 12 percent of the city’s population of 55,525, according to Santa Clara County Public Health data.

Its case rate per 100,000 residents stands at 12,112, far above Morgan Hill, which has the next highest rate in the county at 6,990.

Santa Clara County surpassed the 100,000 case mark near the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed case. A total of 1,414 have died since the start of the pandemic, including 67 in Gilroy, according to county data.

Gilroy’s cases amount to nearly seven percent of the county’s total number of 101,964, despite having only three percent of the population.

County leaders reflected on the anniversary and dubious milestone on Jan. 29, noting that the limited supply of vaccines are slowing efforts to get shots into arms.

“Everybody needs to keep masking, keep distancing, keep testing and get vaccinated when it is your turn,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Covid-19 testing and vaccine officer for the County of Santa Clara. “Check with your provider, see if you are eligible, and sign up for a shot. These are the tools we have to steer the course out of this pandemic.”

According to Fenstersheib, about 6,600 people are vaccinated daily in the county, with more than 60,000 people signed up for the past week.

A total of 163,590 first doses, representing 8 percent of the population, and 43,076 second doses have been administered. Currently, healthcare personnel and those aged 65 and older are eligible to be vaccinated.

The majority of the vaccinations are being done by the county health system, with other providers such as Kaiser Permanente and Palo Alto Medical Foundation administering shots to their patients.

Fenstersheib said the county has a goal to get most residents vaccinated by August, but it needs twice the amount of vaccine than it currently receives on a weekly basis.

“We have the ability to give the vaccine, but we don’t have enough vaccines provided to us,” he said.

While Valley Health Center Gilroy has the capacity to vaccinate 500 county health system patients daily, the hardest-hit city in the county does not have a mass vaccination site such as those offered in San Jose and Mountain View.

Part of the holdup is finding a suitable site in Gilroy, Mayor Marie Blankley said.

Blankley said the county is looking at multiple city- and Gilroy Unified School District-owned properties to host a mass vaccination site through August.

Blankley added that she and other city and GUSD officials have been providing the county with possible locations for a site based on a certain set of criteria.

Spaces must be indoors, and large enough to accommodate social distancing for those waiting in line, as well as for those who were administered the vaccine, who must remain on site for 15 minutes. A centralized location in the city is also preferred.

Blankley said she anticipates a Gilroy site being identified in the coming days.

She said Gilroy officials have been directed to a single point person within the county to help coordinate the site and give consistent criteria.

“We’re preparing,” she said. “[The county] would like to get it right the first time and have that site present at a location in Gilroy that is easily accessible through August.”

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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