Yolo County reports 82 vaccine breakthrough cases

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Out of more than 115,000 Yolo County residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 82 — or about 0.07 percent — have had breakthrough cases of the virus through last Tuesday, according to the county’s health officer. Two of those 82 individuals were hospitalized and one died, said Dr. Aimee Sisson, who expects the proportion of breakthrough cases to increase as more of the county becomes vaccinated. “Here in Yolo County, with about half of the population fully vaccinated and a vaccine that is 80-percent effective against the Delta variant, I would expect 17 percent of cases to occur in fully vaccinated people,” Sisson said. “So I’m not alarmed that on a recent day, five out of the 17 new cases in Yolo County were in vaccinated people.” In those vaccine breakthrough cases, however, she has seen viral loads indicating a greater likelihood of being able to transmit the virus to others, including the unvaccinated, which is one of the reasons Sisson last week recommended that everybody wear masks in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status. Those over 65 or immunocompromised are strongly recommended to do so as they are at greater risk from breakthrough cases. But getting the unvaccinated vaccinated remains the top priority. “These vaccines are great, they’re highly protective,” said Sisson. Heading into last week, the case rate in California among unvaccinated individuals was 4.9 per 100,000 residents. Among the vaccinated, it was 0.6. The unvaccinated are eight times more likely to become infected than the vaccinated, Sisson said, and nationwide, the unvaccinated are 79 times more likely to die of COVID than the fully vaccinated. But in Yolo County, vaccination rates have barely budged in recent weeks, with 51 percent of residents fully vaccinated. “Progress is very slow and we aren’t getting a lot of new people vaccinated,” Sisson told the Board of Supervisors last week. She cited the county’s unique vaccine-on-demand program which delivers vaccines to any county residents in their homes or workplaces as a way of lifting barriers related to transportation or simply busy schedules. “But even that has not had tremendous uptake, so we are racking our brains, listening to colleagues in other counties, but, honestly, nobody is having tremendous success right now,” said Sisson. The stalled vaccination campaign comes as daily new cases have significantly increased in Yolo County. The 48 new cases reported on Friday represented the highest one-day total since Feb. 19. Over the last seven days, the county has reported 180 new cases, a one-week total not seen here in several months. During the month of July, Sisson said, the county has seen an increase in the proportion of new cases among 20- to 24-year-olds, even though that age group is one of the most highly vaccinated of all, with 76 percent fully vaccinated. “So we’re seeing more vaccine breakthrough cases in that population,” Sisson said. The 30 to 34 age group remains the most vaccine hesitant and “the least vaccinated population in the county,” according to Sisson. Just 30 percent of 30- to 34-year-olds in Yolo County are fully vaccinated, something health officials have suggested may be due to unfounded fears over the vaccine’s impact on reproductive systems. Numbers are slightly better — though still low — for the 12- to 15-year-olds, with 39 percent fully vaccinated, and for 16- to 19-year-olds, with 38 percent fully vaccinated. And while in the short-term, vaccinated individuals remain highly protected from severe illness and death due to COVID-19, the longterm implications of so many unvaccinated individuals, not just locally but around the globe, are significant, raising the odds of even more devastating variants than Delta. Sisson said there is concern about pharmaceutical companies trying to get booster shots approved in richer countries like the United States and in Europe when so many people elsewhere in the world have yet to be offered a single shot. California’s health officers, she said, are pushing to have excess vaccine doses in the state shared with the rest of the world. “It’s a pandemic,” she said. “It’s a global problem, and we can’t just focus on our own backyard. We have to think about sharing the amazing resource of these vaccines with the entire world.” County stats Some areas of the county are faring better than others, both in terms of vaccination rates and daily new cases. The City of Winters — where 49 percent of residents in the 95694 zip code are fully vaccinated — has seen seven new cases over the last two weeks. West Sacramento, which has the lowest vaccination rates in Yolo County, has seen the biggest increase in new COVID cases, with 106 cases reported over the last two weeks. According to state data, 48 percent of residents in that city’s 95605 zip code are fully vaccinated and 61 percent in the 95691 zip code. Woodland has seen 83 new cases during that 14-day time frame. In Woodland’s 95776 zip code — which covers the eastern half of the city — 75 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, while in the 95695 zip code, 58 percent are. Davis, which has reported 41 new COVID-19 cases between July 6 to 19, remains above the county average in both the 95616 and 95618 zip codes. Sixty percent of residents in the 95616 area are fully vaccinated as are 74 percent of those in the 95618 zip code. Delta variant The Delta variant continues to expand its presence in Yolo County. Of the 25 new COVID-19 cases sequenced by the UC Davis Genome Center during the period of July 4 to 10, 21 were due to the Delta variant, according to Healthy Davis Together. The Delta variant, which is twice as infectious as the original virus, is responsible for three-fourths of new cases in Yolo County and for 11 of the breakthrough cases in recent weeks, according to Sisson. The Genome Center is sequencing all positive test samples collected on campus or by Healthy Davis Together. However, testing has fallen off sharply in Yolo County, Sisson said. Between June 15 and July 12, the county’s testing volume dropped from 917 tests per day per 100,000 residents to just 500. Call-to-order vaccine Yolo County has extended its call-to-order vaccine program through the end of August. Call 530-666-8665 to have a vaccine delivered to your home or workplace between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. This service is available free to all county residents ages 12 and up. The county has also added a new Spanish call-to-order line, 530-379-3465.

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