Sonoma County's overall daily case rate has risen to three times where the county was a couple months ago. Case rates are more than four times higher among unvaccinated people.
And new cases are disproportionately high among Latinx and Black residents, people living in congregate settings, as well as in younger people under 49, making up over 70 percent of new cases and some of the lowest vaccination numbers. Vaccine officer Dr. Urmila Shende emphasized how concerning this pattern is.
“There continues to be a sense that young people, healthy people may not need the vaccine,” Shende said. “The truth is we have seen young people hospitalized with this Delta variant, which is something that had not happened before with the original strains.”
And COVID hospitalizations numbers remain high, above 40 a day. Health officials say 83 percent of those hospitalized for COVID are unvaccinated and 100 percent of COVID ICU patients have not received a shot.
County communications manager Paul Gullixson said there's a need to remain diligent.
“People are weary, and they don't want to hear that masks are still needed,” Gullixson said. “But the reality is, and we've said it all along, we may be done with COVID but COVID isn't done with us."
As some residents continue to question the legitimacy of COVID, Supervisor Chris Coursey's message was clear.
“There are not right and wrong facts, there are just facts,” Coursey said. “We are listening to the science, the real science is what we are dealing with here. And we are dealing with real consequences of people who are not paying attention to those facts and that science.”
As more children in the county are experiencing symptomatic COVID, Shende confirmed the vaccine won't be available for residents under 12 until next winter.