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Sonoma County is seeing increasing COVID infections from gatherings

The recent rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Sonoma County brings echoes of a darker time – the deadly winter rise in December and January. But this smaller plateau is constructed differently.

Compared to other points in the pandemic, this summer’s mini-surge – which is currently characterized by a seven-day average of 5.2 new daily cases per day. 100,000 inhabitants and a test positivity rate of 3.1%, both mark significantly higher than a month earlier – become more driven by social gatherings and leisure activities.

County officials believe the trend confirms what they have feared for some time, that the virus will remain violent in communities or families with lower vaccination rates.

“We really have two realities going on, one for those who have been vaccinated and one for non-vaccinated,”

; said Sonoma County Communications Manager Paul Gullixson during a recent briefing with county epidemiologists and health officials. Sundari Mase.

With 68% of Sonoma County’s eligible population fully vaccinated and a further 8% partially vaccinated, the community has more collective protection against the virus than at any time since March 2020. But physicians involved in the vaccination campaign tend to focus more on quarters. of the unvaccinated population and the danger for which they continue to sue.

In fact, because the delta variant of coronavirus appears to be about 60% more transmissible than the first iteration, it is likely that someone who is still not inoculated in July 2021 is even more at risk, especially if they are surrounded. of others who have been hesitant to receive doses.

“We live separate lives. The general number is not so useful if you live in a pocket of unvaccinated people, ”said Dr. Panna Lossy, a clinical faculty member at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency and UCSF, referring to Sonoma County’s overall vaccination rate of 76%. “And we are not an island. People will travel here from all over the world and bring their unvaccinated selves and their varieties. ”

The World Health Organization recently announced a new “variant of concern,” called lambda, that was first identified in Peru.

County data built through contact tracking reveals changes in the transmission arc.

Infections from workplaces have declined over the past few months, even when offices have reopened, with many employers now insisting on proof of vaccination. During the pandemic, just under 10% of Sonoma County’s infections are traced to the workplace. The rate is lower, approx. 6.3%, among active cases. Likewise, the proportion of cases attributed to the group care settings is around 3% for the whole pandemic, currently 0.9%.

Meanwhile, social gatherings have become a more active vector for transmission. They have been linked to less than 7% of cases through the pandemic, but currently account for more than 12%. The leap into large gatherings – those of 12 or more people – is especially steep. These have gone from approx. 3% of all cases to 7.1%.

All of these numbers, it should be noted, are probably underrepresentations. Because of the complex web of social and work interactions most people experience, the origin of more than 40% of Sonoma County’s coronavirus cases is unknown. By only analyzing cases of known origin, collections have increased their share from 8% of cases in early January to 20% now, Pack said.

The Memorial Day grill generated disease, Pack said. Now county officials are waiting to see the full consequences of the weekend of July 4th. It usually takes two to four weeks for the timeline to play.

As more outbreaks are associated with gatherings, they hit a younger segment of the population. Data provided by Pack show the highest incidence in the age group 18 to 32 years. This jibes with local rates for full vaccination – approx. 55% for those between 16 and 34 years, more than 80% for people 65 and older.

Some trends in infection are clearly driven by the solution of government restrictions. For example, new cases are starting to be tied to weddings and worship services, Pack said. These activities were severely limited during much of the pandemic. And the K-12 school campus was among the largest transmission sources in May and June, an option that did not exist for many months.

The county’s breakdown of locations includes a category called “Other,” which clumps together options such as bars, restaurants, grocery stores and banks. These sources ranged from approx. 2.4% of all new infections to 7.4% in the period from mid-May to early July, when capacity increased for most of them. They have dropped to about 4.2% since.

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