With the recent rise in COVID-19 Delta variant cases and hospitalizations, health officials from Yuba and Sutter counties continue to recommend that residents wear masks in indoor settings, per California Department of Public Health guidance. 

“Unvaccinated persons continue to be required to wear masks in all indoor public settings,” it was stated in a release issued by CDPH last week. “This guidance is an update, in light of review of the most recent CDC recommendations. To achieve universal masking in indoor public settings, we are recommending that fully vaccinated people also mask in indoor public settings across California. This adds an extra precautionary measure for all to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, especially in communities currently seeing the highest transmission rates.” 

Local, state, and federal public health officials also continue to urge vaccination, which local officials said is safe and effective in preventing serious complications from COVID-19 and the current Delta variant.

“I ask you: be a leader in this community. Stand up, stand up for vaccination, do what we can to protect our community, our neighbors, our friends and our loved ones from this pandemic,” said Adventist Health and Rideout President Rick Rawson. “We’ve made a lot of progress, we still have more to go, and I’m really asking for your support, because it takes all of us.”

According to a release issued by Yuba County, Yuba and Sutter counties are seeing a tripling of daily coronavirus case counts and test positivity compared to earlier this month, with the overwhelming majority of new cases among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated residents. Among those 12 years and older who are fully vaccinated, only 0.1 percent develop breakthrough infections, and only 0.02 percent are hospitalized.

“This further underscores our concerns that if a community member is not vaccinated, they are at very high risk for infection, development of severe disease and hospitalization due to COVID-19,” said Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu. “Your best protection against the Delta variant and COVID-19 overall is to get vaccinated fully as soon as possible.”

The majority of recent cases are in small clusters due to resumed social activities, according to local officials. These activities – especially conducted indoors among unvaccinated individuals – provide the potential for very high COVID-19 transmission due to the fact that the Delta strain, which is the current dominant strain in the U.S., is 200 percent more transmissible than the initial wild-type strain.

“With only 38 percent of Yuba County residents 12 years and older fully vaccinated, we are extremely concerned our community will continue to see more cases, more hospitalizations and unfortunately, more deaths related to COVID-19,” Yuba County Deputy Director of HHS and Director of Public Health Meghan Marshall said. “We are asking everyone in our community to take those vital steps of staying home when not feeling well, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and limiting gatherings to the outdoors and to smaller numbers, as those precautions can go a long way to ensuring you and your family can enjoy many more summers to come.” 

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