Daily COVID-19 cases in Yuba-Sutter have increased substantially this week to between the high 20s and low 30s every day, according to Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu.

Last week the number of new cases per day was in the teens, she said.

“Increased social interactions and travel in unvaccinated persons are among the chief causes of the increase in cases,” said Deputy Director of Yuba County Health and Human Services Meghan Marshall. “In particular, a number of recent cases have been associated with social gatherings where the majority of folks were unvaccinated, unmasked and in close quarters for long periods of time.”

In addition, Yuba-Sutter has had 13 confirmed Delta variant cases. Luu said, however, the current figure is likely a significant underestimate because genome sequencing testing is not routinely done on most COVID-19 test samples from the Yuba-Sutter region.

“We are working with Adventist Health/Rideout to increase the sampling for variants of concern,” Luu said.

The Delta variant is 200 percent more transmissible than the original COVID-19 viral strain, according to Luu.

“The risk is much higher for those who are unvaccinated versus those who are fully vaccinated,” Luu said. “All three currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines strongly protect against development of severe disease due to COVID-19.”

She said while no vaccine provides 100 percent protection, getting vaccinated is the strongest protection against the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

There are currently 17 hospitalized Yuba-Sutter residents due to COVID-19 and Luu said a few have been confirmed to be due to the Delta variant.

Marshall said the virus is always mutating to infect in the most vulnerable areas.

“For an individual, that is someone who is unvaccinated and for a community, that is somewhere there are low vaccination coverages,” Marshall said. “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.”

Marshall asked the community to be as safe as possible in gatherings with loved ones and to continue abiding by the tenets.

“Staying home when you are not feeling well, wearing a mask, washing your hands, limiting gatherings to the outdoors and to smaller numbers can go a long way to ensuring you and your family can enjoy many more Yuba County summers to come,” Marshall said.

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