Morgan Hill has overtaken the city of San Jose as the second most Covid-infected city in the county, according to the Santa Clara County Health Department.
For much of the pandemic, only Gilroy, the city with the highest number of reported cases per capita in the county, exceeded San Jose’s rate per 100,000. However, the new data suggests that San Jose’s relative growth rate has slowed slightly while Morgan Hill’s is accelerating.
According to the county, 3,269 residents of Morgan Hill tested positive for the Covid-19 virus on Monday. At 7.23 percent, that’s higher than San Jose’s 6.75 percent but lower than Gilroy’s runaway 12.44 percent.
The South Valley and East Side of San Jose are the parts of the county hardest hit by the pandemic. This shows differences in housing density, jobs and access to health care.
The more affluent, smaller, and less dense suburbs of West Valley and North Counties – Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, and Palo Alto – have much lower fall rates and slower spreads of so many Technology seen Sector workers worked from home. In the past six months, cases in Morgan Hill and Gilroy have increased more than 1,500 percent, while those eight cities have seen only 197 percent increase since July last year.
This equates to an increase of 1,881 positive tests in the eight West Side and North Counties, less than 1 percent of their total population of 274,500. Over the same period, Morgan Hill and Gilroy recorded 18,412 new cases, bringing the total to 19,670 – more than 18.5 percent of the total population of the two cities – as the virus spread more than 25 times faster in South County than the higher one Income areas.
The Latinx population was disproportionately affected by Covid-19. More than half of the cases in the county were in the Latinx parish, which makes up just over a quarter of the county’s population. In Santa Clara County, a Latinx resident is more than four times more likely to have the virus than someone classified as white.
Despite the high rates of infection, the county has been slow to vaccinate the Latinx community. Only 4.8 percent of Latinx county’s residents have had vaccinations, while more than 10 percent of whites and 13.4 percent of Asians have received vaccinations.
Gilroy is 59 percent Latinx while Morgan Hill is 31.3 percent, according to 2019 US Census Bureau statistics.
City officials have worked with public health officials and volunteers to improve local access to testing and vaccinations, but limited supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine across the state have slowed the process forward.
Christina Turner, city manager for Morgan Hill, said the city has been in talks with the county health authorities to potentially plan a vaccination clinic or site at a local facility like the De Paul Health Center or the downtown Community and Cultural Center.
Health officials and volunteers at some Morgan Hill locations have started helping elderly residents and other eligible individuals make appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine, Turner added. The city is ready to step up these efforts.
“I hope we can get the resources we need as soon as possible as we are badly affected,” said Turner.
Morgan Hill Councilor Yvonne Martinez Beltran helped move the county’s health officials to expand Covid-19 testing and other resources to more vulnerable populations. She’d love to see the county open a vaccination center in Morgan Hill soon.
The recent opening of an OptumServe test site at The Grange in downtown Morgan Hill is encouraging as it is more accessible to public transportation and lower-income residents than other test sites, Martinez Beltran said.
Volunteers and public health workers at The Grange site have also started signing residents up for vaccination appointments on Fridays and Saturdays for the remainder of the month, except February 27, Martinez Beltran added.
The councilor said she had “doubled” her efforts to expand Covid-19 resources at Morgan Hill in recent months – recruiting volunteers, working with other organizations and facilitating the delivery of vital public health information to Spanish-speaking residents. The city has been one of the three most heavily infected communities in the district since the pandemic began.
“We have agricultural roots. We have a large Latino presence, ”said Martinez Beltran. “I know we’re a small town, but we need something – even a small place for vaccinations.”
Michael Moore and Erik Chalhoub contributed to this report.