San Diego County seeing rise in COVID-19 cases, particularly among unvaccinated
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency is seeing a significant spike in new COVID-19 cases, with 1,264 new cases reported today, the highest number since Feb. 5.
The increase in cases is not a single-day phenomenon, but part of a larger trend in recent weeks. In the 30 days between June 21 and July 20, 6,572 San Diegans tested positive for COVID-19. Of that group, 11% were fully vaccinated, while 89% were not.
“We are facing a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher. “A vast majority of the increase in cases are from those who are unvaccinated and they account for nearly all of the hospitalizations. The way to slow the increase and protect yourself is to trust your doctor and get a vaccine.”
On June 21, just 56 new cases of the virus were reported. On July 7, the number of new cases crossed the 200 mark and has not receded.
“The vaccines are effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “If you have not gotten vaccinated, the time to get vaccinated is now. If you are late for your second dose, the time to get that second shot is now.”
Community outbreaks, hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also up dramatically. The county reported an additional two community outbreaks today, bringing the total number of outbreaks in the last seven days to 25. One month ago, on June 23, only five community outbreaks were reported.
A total of 98% of hospitalizations in the last 30 days are in individuals who are not vaccinated or have not completed the full series of the two-dose vaccine.
“In the last few weeks, individuals who were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were seven times more likely to contract the virus,” said Dr. Seema Shah, medical director of HHSA’s Epidemiology and Immunization Services branch. “The more infectious Delta variant is on its way to becoming the dominant strain among San Diego County residents and a single dose of the
vaccine is only about 30% effective in protecting people from getting sick.”
Despite the increase in cases and hospitalizations, there was no word from county officials regarding a return to the mask mandate, as Los Angeles did earlier this month.
Close to 150,000 San Diegans are only partially vaccinated and overdue for their second shot. The county is working with medical providers to help them remind patients and is also using the San Diego Immunization Registry to develop follow-up reminders for those who are behind schedule.
To facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines, the county is now operating the “Great Eight,” a collection of geographically distributed no-cost vaccination sites that allow people to choose any one of the three vaccines available in the U.S., Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
For a list of locations and more information, go to www.coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.
Dr. Christian Ramers, Assistant Medical Director for Research and Special Populations and Director of Graduate Medical Education at Family Health Centers of San Diego, joined KUSI’s Elizabeth Alvarez on Good Morning San Diego to discuss the Delta variant and vaccines.
Required vaccines are absolutely not unprecedented, explained Dr. Ramers, and gave examples of his own vaccinations as a healthcare worker and the vaccines children must have to enter schools.
The FDA is likely to approve the Pfizer vaccine fully within a month or two, Dr. Ramers said.