California sees COVID-19 cases trend up after restrictions ease

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 20:15:02-04

(KGTV) — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in California is increasing.

According to data released by the state, the seven-day average of cases per 100K is currently 3.1. Just a month ago, that number was 2.2.

"Cases have gone up a little bit in California, because as we opened up and people got out more and started interacting more," said Dr. Timothy Brewer, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. "There was more opportunity for transmission of SARS-CoV-​2."

Dr. Brewer says an increase in the number of cases was expected.

According to state data updated on Thursday, there was also an increase in COVID-19 hospitalized patients and an increase in the number of people in the ICU.

Another increase public health officials are paying attention to is the number of cases of the delta variant. It's now the most dominant variant in the state.

"It's part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has changed in a way that allows it to spread more easily from person to person," Dr. Brewer said. "Because of that, it's rapidly replacing the other variants that were out there in the community before it."

In San Diego County, health officials say there are 54 confirmed cases of the delta variant, four people have been hospitalized, and one person died.

"The median age for that variant is 27, and that's young," said Dr. Seema Shah, Medical Director for the County of San Diego, Epidemiology & Immunization Services Branch.

"That's telling us that it's the younger population that's getting this that's not vaccinated."

While San Diego numbers show they've doubled from the week before, not every county is seeing that kind of a jump.

As of Thursday, San Luis Obispo County is only reporting three confirmed cases of the delta variant.

In a statement, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein wrote, "This variant poses a threat, but we know how to stop its spread. Get tested if you experience symptoms and be sure to protect yourself and your family by getting the vaccine. If you've been waiting, now is the time."

In Kern County, the most recent data shows only one confirmed case.

However, health officials say it doesn't mean there aren't more. While state guidance has recently changed to encourage all labs to sequence all positive cases, not all labs have the capacity to do this. Meaning not everywhere tests for different variants.

While some people who have received a vaccine tested positive for one of the variants, Dr. Shah says that's very low.

New data from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency shows that since Jan. 1, 2021, 99.1% of COVID-19 cases occurred in San Diegans who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

"It's less about the variant and more about how we can get more people vaccinated, and I think that's the key piece," said Dr. Shah.