COVID-19 case surge is in an area with one of the lowest vaccination rates

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HANFORD, Calif. (KSEE) – Kings County has seen a huge spike in COVID-19 cases – and has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

Kings County Department of Health said weekly case averages had dropped to 26 in May and June, but last week they reported 112 new cases.

Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves said officials project 300 new cases by the end of this week.

“We need to try to prevent the spread, and so by taking some precautions mainly getting vaccinated and taking the precautions as outlined would help,” he said.

Kyleigh Roper works at One Eleven in downtown Hanford and said news of a nearly 85% increase in cases has not had much of an impact.

“If I wouldn’t have checked social media I wouldn’t have even known that it’s been happening because everyone here has just been acting normal,” she said.

Only 29% of people in Kings County are fully vaccinated, ranking among the lowest in the state.

“I feel like people here just aren’t worried about it. Maybe they don’t think it’s real,” Roper said.

Hanford Mayor Francisco Ramirez said many people tell him they’re scared of possible side effects and want to wait for more long-term data, a decision he fully supports.

“I know a lot of citizens don’t want to get vaccinated and I understand that the issue with them is there’s so much misinformation, and they want to make a sound decision before someone gets vaccinated. And that’s fully up to them the way they take care of their family, but in the meantime, please if you’re not vaccinated go ahead and wear a mask,” Ramirez said.

Neves said county leaders anticipated an uptick in cases as they reopened.

He thinks more people may get the vaccine if it were offered frequently at local events, and asked interested organizers to contact the Department of Health.

“Either at a church, sporting [event], gym, anything you need we can set up a clinic go out and offer immunizations,” he said.

At the last report, three people in the county had the Delta variant but it’s unknown whether the number has changed. Neves said last week on average there were ten people hospitalized with COVID-19.

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