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The number of Delta variants in San Diego County more than doubled in one week

After weeks of relative stability, the number of coronavirus cases, Delta variants and admissions are tracked slightly in this week’s report from the county health department.

To be sure, the trend visible in the region’s COVID-19 update is nowhere near the peak that filled local hospitals over the past winter.

However, experts are concerned that those who have not yet been vaccinated or who have only been partially vaccinated are vulnerable, and the Delta variant is gaining dominance in San Diego County, which has seen a slower path due to better-than-average overall vaccination rates. .

The county̵

7;s number of local delta cases more than doubled in one week, rising from 25 to 54 in the latest survey, and the total number of new positive coronavirus test results received by the county’s epidemiological department was over 100 per. Day for six of the seven days from June 30 to July 6.

While the total number of delta cases still looks quite small, especially compared to the 794 total new cases that were discovered nationwide during this time period, Dr. Seema Shah, medical director of epidemiology and immunization services in San Diego County, says this is not the right way to think about variants.

First, it is impossible to identify which variant is involved from a positive test alone. Genetic sequencing is required to determine which variant caused a given positive test result, and there is a two to three week delay time between samples being collected and when the results arrive at the local health departments for reporting to the public.

So new variant reports are a window of insight into what was going on in recent times, rather than a signal of the current groundbreaking in neighborhoods from Oceanside to San Ysidro.

A decentralized genetic testing effort also means that many positive tests are never sequenced, meaning that a variant that was actually detected probably represents many that never got that far in the identification process.

“As for the new cases reported in the last two or three weeks, it is difficult to know what percentage of this is delta due to the delay in receiving sequencing results,” Shah said.

But no one, she added, should worry too much about the specific numbers or even what variant is involved.

It is enough to see that both overall cases and variant reports are trending upwards and much faster for those who have not been vaccinated. A new report published by the county this week indicates that 99.1 percent of COVID-19 cases since January 1 have been among unvaccinated residents, and the rate for non-vaccinated is over 4 per. 100,000 inhabitants compared to less than 1 per. 100,000 for the 1.89 million in San Diego County who are fully vaccinated.

“For me, it’s less about the specific variant and more about the continued vaccination of individuals,” Shah said.

The region’s vaccination dashboard also received its weekly update on Wednesday night, pushing past 2.2 million local residents who have received at least one dose. However, there are more than 2.8 million people living in San Diego County who are 12 years of age or older who adhere to federal guidelines for coronavirus inoculation.

This means that there are almost 600,000 people in the whole region who can be vaccinated but have not done so so far.

Dr. Robert Schooley, an infectious disease expert at UC San Diego, said in an email Thursday that these people should not ask for the risks they take. The Delta variant, first discovered in India, has been shown to be more resistant to the natural antibodies generated from previous infections, more transmissible than other types and more likely to cause hospitalization.

“As more and more people are out walking without masks, and as the Delta variant moves into San Diego, we are likely to see more admissions, especially among the unvaccinated,” Schooley said. “Those who continue to expose themselves to being vaccinated do so at their own risk.”

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