Healthy Davis Together reports surge in new cases

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Healthy Davis Together saw a significant spike in new cases of COVID-19 last week. During July 18-24, 133 new cases were detected among individuals who live or work in Davis or were tested by Healthy Davis Together elsewhere in the county. The 33 positive tests collected on July 21 alone were the most on a single day since Jan. 11, according to Healthy Davis Together’s online data. The test positivity rate has also nearly doubled over the last month. The UC Davis Genome Center continues to sequence every positive test collected by Healthy Davis Together to identify variants occurring locally. That effort shows the growing influence of the Delta variant, which caused 41 of the 49 cases identified during the week of July 11-17. Those 41 Delta cases marked an 86 percent increase over the prior week when 22 Delta variant cases were identified. The increase in COVID-19 cases identified by Healthy Davis Together has been accompanied by a steady decline in testing, from a high of more than 25,000 weekly asymptomatic tests performed at the Genome Center in February and early March to a low of 6,600 tests performed the week of July 4-10. For the most recent week reported — July 18-24 — 7,490 asymptomatic and symptomatic tests were performed, a third of what the Genome Center was seeing in the winter and spring. The reopening of the state, accompanied by the elimination of the mask mandate as well as by the spread of the Delta variant, have combined to produce rising case rates, hospitalizations and deaths across the state. The week before the state’s reopening on June 15, the UC Davis Genome Center reported nine positive cases picked up by Healthy Davis Together and campus testing. That increased to 24 three weeks later, 26 a week after that (a week that included the Fourth of July holiday and the lowest amount of testing seen this year) and 49 new cases July 11-17. Last week’s 133 new cases represents the biggest increase yet. The Delta variant, which was identified locally for the first time in early April, is considered the most infectious of the variants to emerge since the pandemic started. However, authorized COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide strong protection against serious illness and death, according to health officials.

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