Health officials express growing concern over delta variant as it spreads in the Central Valley
CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KGPE) – Several county health departments in the Central Valley expressed concern Friday over the delta variant and the impacts it could have on the unvaccinated population.
Fresno County leads the Central Valley with vaccination rates as its latest data showing 44% of the county’s overall population vaccinated with at least one dose. But that number is still significantly lower than many other parts of California.
During the Fresno County Department of Public Health’s weekly virtual press conference on Friday, Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said 19 cases of the delta variant had been identified in Fresno County.
“We expect this number to bloom because that’s basically what this variant has been doing across the country and across the world,” Vohra said.
That 19 cases of the delta variant only represent cases detected among the samples that were sequenced. Vohra says the overall number of cases of the delta variant in Fresno County will likely be higher.
According to the state, California’s seven-day positivity rate increased from 0.9% on June 18 to 1.5% on July 1. That data shows the delta variant accounted for 36% of the COVID samples sequenced in the state in the month of June.
“Currently, the delta variant is the one that is causing the most concern. That’s because it has proven itself to be more contagious and more severe in the experiences of other countries and other states,” Vohra said.
In Tulare County, the Health and Human Services Agency says one case of the delta variant had been detected locally last week. This week, that number went up to eight.
“It is an indication that the prevalence of the delta variant is increasing significantly in Tulare County,” said the agency’s Carrie Monteiro.
Monteiro says around 38% of Tulare County’s overall population is vaccinated with at least one dose.
The lower vaccination rates, with the presence of the delta variant in the Central Valley, are prompting local health officials to continue their push to get more residents vaccinated – and reminding residents that those who are unvaccinated are at higher risk of contracting the variant.
Dr. Mohamed Fayed with UCSF, who also works in the ICU at local hospitals, said Friday that patients with COVID-19 who are coming in are usually people who are unvaccinated.
“Overall, I can tell you that it’s unvaccinated patients that are getting really sick,” Fayed said.
You can find vaccination locations clicking your county in the list below: