ALAMEDA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- Health officials in Alameda County on Thursday announced that the region's COVID-19 cases have more than doubled since early June lows, particularly in communities where vaccination rates are lower.
A joint press release issued by Alameda County's Office of Emergency Services and Alameda County Health Care noted that the current surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to exceed the wave seen this past spring. Hospitalizations are also correspondingly on the rise.
Cases and hospitalizations were at their lowest levels since April 2020 only a month ago in early June, according to officials, with the average daily number of cases dropping as low as 28 per day. As of Thursday, July 8, the average number of daily cases has risen to over 70 per day, with over 100 new cases being reported on some recent days.
The new cases are especially impacting communities where vaccination rates are lowest, including in priority neighborhoods that have already been hit hardest by COVID-19. Officials said this latest case surge is likely due to reopened activities and with decreasing mask use, with the highly transmissible Delta variant likely having an additional impact.
While a small number of vaccinated residents have reported generally mild cases, the vast majority of new cases are among unvaccinated people, once again illustrating the danger of not getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"We expect to see more COVID-19 with reopening, but the rate of this increase is concerning," said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. "COVID-19 is a serious threat to the health and wellness of unvaccinated residents. If you are still deciding about vaccination, continue to follow COVID safety precautions to keep from catching or spreading the virus, like wearing your mask in indoor public settings and outdoor crowded spaces."
Unvaccinated individuals, including youth and young adults, remain at risk of severe illness, hospitalization and even death from a severe COVID-19 infection. Officials are renewing their calls for all eligible individuals to get the vaccination.
"There are many reasons why a person may have chosen not to get vaccinated yet. Many of our residents have experiences with the medical industry that make them pause when considering whether to get vaccinated," said Alameda County Public Health Director Kimi Watkins-Tartt. "My message right now to our community: COVID-19 has not gone away, and it is still making people very sick. Get vaccinated to protect yourself and your family and friends."
Health officials said that Alameda County is still prioritizing the vaccination of residents in disproportionally impacted neighborhoods by partnering closely with community organizations on outreach and operating hyperlocal vaccination sites where vaccination rates are lower.
Residents who have not been vaccinated can also find a clinic nearby on the Alameda County COVID-19 website or by callling 510-208-4VAX (510-208-4829). Residents can drop by a location near them and don't need an appointment at County-supported vaccinations Points of Dispensing (PODs) and most pop-ups.
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