Santa Clara County recorded a sudden spike of coronavirus cases in the past few days, causing public health officials to issue warnings urging residents to maintain social distancing and wear face masks when going out.

On Sunday, county officials reported a total of 358 new positive cases, the second-highest in the region since July, with a recorded number of 385 infections. County health officials said that most of the cases were from tests within the past week, half of which were discovered in the last three days. Additionally, an increase of 10% in hospitalizations was recorded.

The health officer and the director of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, Dr. Sara Cody, expressed her concern about the sudden surge of infections. She added that the situation was made dire due to the coming holiday season and cold weather.

The news release noted that the threat of the COVID-19 virus is higher due to people dining indoors, inviting people from the outside, and residents becoming complacent with the pandemic.

Cody said that the entire state and across the nation have been seeing a rise in local and regional transmissions and hospitalizations. The health official added the situation has made it clear that the virus is still spreading and urged citizens to double their efforts and awareness to reduce the number of infections, the San Francisco Gate reported.

Santa Clara County is currently labeled in the moderate Orange Tier under California’s COVID-19 monitoring scale. However, the unexpected surge of new infections could force officials to raise the warning back to Red Tier, causing the reimposition of business restrictions.

The seven-day average within the region was recorded between 131 and 139, seeing a slight increase from what was reported in the middle of October.

Cody compared the increased number of infections to the wave of wildfires in the Bay Area during the hot season. The health official said it would only take a tiny spark to fuel the start of a massive and uncontrollable situation.

The health expert said that in October, the county began to see an increase in positive cases. Officials have continued to monitor the situation and are discussing potential countermeasures. Additionally, Cody said that they could not trace the abrupt spike of cases to any super spreader event.

Cody added, “We don’t have a clear signal of particular groups or sub-populations or clear super spreader events that would explain this surge.” The health official said experts are continuing studies of the situation and are investigating potential sources, CBS Local reported.

County health officials are on high alert due to the threatening situation. Cody noted how steep the spike of new cases was and acknowledge that it previously got the better of medical experts and officials.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said that despite the uptick of coronavirus infections, some counties could see drops in new cases. The official added that the tier status was created based on data, epidemiology, and facts available, and not on politics.

While most of the county’s business establishments have followed COVID-19 safety protocols and restrictions, a few have openly disregarded the mandates. Officials revealed that they had received over 1,800 complaints of non-compliance, which led to about $600,000 worth of fines being assessed since late August.

County environmental health director, Michael Balliet, said that the last thing anyone wants to do while businesses are struggling is paying more. He noted, however, that a system is needed to regularly encourage behavior that would help fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Aruna Subramanian said that every citizen should be aware of the consequences of breaking safety guidelines amid the pandemic. She noted that every individual should be thinking of the community and how best to protect it from the deadly virus, ABC7 News reported.