Fresno County Health officials urging masks, vaccinations as COVID positivity rate and delta variant cases increase

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Fresno health and government officials clash over end of state of emergency order

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE)- 57 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Fresno county as of Thursday, according to health officials.

Interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra estimates more than 90% of them are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

That number is up from 42 Covid hospitalizations in just one week.

“That’s very concerning to us is that the more people that are exposed to this delta variant, the higher the chance that we are going to have that uptick in hospitalizations,” said Dr. Vohra.

In an update Friday, Health officials reported 30 confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Fresno county, though they said the actual number is likely significantly more, possibly 10 times higher.

Dr. Vohra said that discrepancy comes from low testing numbers, delays and results, and some samples not being eligible for variant screening.

“Whenever we analyzed this back when we had 20 cases, we had four individuals were fully vaccinated and 16 that were not vaccinated, so that kind of gives you a sense of probably about 15 to 20% of individuals that come down with this delta infection, only 15% will be vaccinated,” said Dr. Vohra.

When asked if Fresno County could see a masking requirement for vaccinated people like Los Angeles county, Dr. Vohra said they are still watching the trends and focusing on education. 

“The state has done some good surveys of this issue,” said Dr. Vohra, “and they’ve really come to the conclusion which is the people that don’t want to mask are really not going to mask regardless of whether it’s a requirement or a recommendation or whatnot, and the people that are going to mask are really attracted to doing that because they’ve been educated and because they understand the science behind why that works.”

Health officials are also urging parents to get their teens vaccinated ahead of the new school year to avoid outbreaks in classrooms.

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