San Francisco and San Mateo counties reached grim milestones Saturday as health officials reported the most deaths ever from COVID-19 in each county while a surge in fatalities continued to sweep across the Bay Area.

New coronavirus case and deaths numbers compiled by this news organization show the city recorded 17 new fatalities and its neighbor to the south reported 41. After holiday surges, the number of new COIVD-19 cases and hospitalizations is declining, but numbers from the Peninsula show the death toll has not slown.

Often called the pandemic’s lagging indicator, deaths across California now total 43,974 even as the latest surge in cases appears to be under control. In the Bay Area so far, 4,548 people have died from the virus as of Saturday.

Official numbers show 345 people have died in the city, and 436 people have died in San Mateo County.

But despite claiming the most deaths ever recorded in their counties, the San Francisco and San Mateo County health offices — as well as those of other counties across the Bay Area — reported about case numbers that were near or below their averages.

In the city, 31,959 people have contracted the virus, with 102 positive cases recorded Saturday. San Mateo County numbers show 36,689 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, with 90 new cases being added Saturday.

Across the Bay in Alameda County, officials say 342 new cases of the coronavirus were recorded for a total of 75,737 cases. Seven people were reported dead from the virus Saturday bringing the death toll to 1,037.

Contra Costa County reported 377 new cases and seven new deaths of the virus for a total of 58,839 cases and 559 deaths.

The North Bay counties of Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Marin together reported 165 new cases and 5 new deaths for a total of 76,381 cases and 643 deaths.

Santa Clara County continues to have the highest number of cases and highest death toll in the area. Officials say 104,609 people have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic with 533 of them reported Saturday. Five people were reported dead Saturday, bringing the death toll to 1,528.

Counties are so overwhelmed by the surge in deaths that crematories across the Bay Area are working double shifts and the funeral industry is under stress. The Mercury News spoke with several “last responders” as they deal with a surge in deaths.

But even as more people die from the virus, California is continuing to vaccinate people as quickly as possible. With a limited supply of approved vaccines and confounding directions on who can get the shot, this news organization has the latest developments and what they mean for you. 



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