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Sonoma County's case rate has decreased by more than fifty percent from the peak of the delta surge in mid-August. And hospitalizations have also dropped to 51 patients from the peak of 84.

While ICU numbers have also declined, there are still a significant number of patients needing intensive care after moving past the worst of the summer surge.

"Right now capacity is not necessarily a concern, but hospitals have definitely been under strain with these dual demands and keeping up with staffing and handling the care of some pretty medically complex cases," said Sonoma County epidemiologist Kate Peck.

Peck said, unlike last September, hospitals are juggling caring for COVID patients as well as people that have delayed care during the pandemic. And Peck said there have been increased hospitalizations among 50 to 64 year old and 18 to 49 year old patients.

Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said this is due to the lower vaccination rate among younger people.

"I'm cautiously optimistic to see the decline in case numbers, case rates and hospitalizations," Mase said. "However, I'm still really concerned that we have sicker, younger people being hospitalized and in the ICU and dying. And the key message is, if you're not vaccinated go and get vaccinated."

Data shows since July 1st the median age of fatalities for unvaccinated residents is 60 years old as opposed to 77 years old for vaccinated people.

Because of August's high hospitalization and fatality rates, Mase advises to sit tight and continue to mask and social distance until case numbers decline further.

"We need to keep our guard up and continue to protect ourselves, our families and our communities," Mase said.

Yesterday four more COVID deaths were reported and all were unvaccinated patients. The number of Sonoma County residents to die of COVID-19 since the pandemic began now stands at three hundred seventy six. 


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