Youth COVID-19 cases rising, Fresno County health officials sound alarm on delta variant

Coronavirus

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – In a Friday afternoon COVID-19 update, the Fresno County Department of Public Health reported 116 people currently hospitalized patients. It’s a sharp increase following a steady decrease in hospitalizations since February.

The health department warns that everyone must be cautious of COVID-19 – regardless of vaccination status. 

“We are really entering another surge,” said Fresno County Interim Health Officer Rais Vohra. “This is happening across the country and across the state.”

Vohra is urging people to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Earlier this week, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued similar nationwide recommendations. He says this will help curb the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. 

“We know it’s inconvenient to ask people to mask up again,  I fully recognize that it is,” Vohra said. “However it’s a really small inconvenience compared to the benefits that it has.”

Another troubling statistic reported Friday by the health department shows how, since May, emergency room visits due to COVID-19 symptoms have increased dramatically for those 18 years old and under, more so than those 65 years and older.

Joe Prado, Interim Assistant Director of the Fresno County Health Department, says this trend is troubling. 

“You’re seeing it grow upwards of 20% almost here,” Prado said. “This is concerning because the under 18 population, they’re not all eligible to be vaccinated. So their only protection is the people around them.” Vohra also says his team has already begun talks with the City of Fresno on city employees possibly being required to show proof of vaccination status, or undergo weekly testing.

“I think once you understand what this disease is doing then it’s really clear that this is largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Vohra said. “It’s really something all cities need to be considering.”

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