Local health experts attribute rise in COVID-19 cases to unvaccinated people, delta variant

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – COVID-19 cases are steadily on the rise in California with Sacramento County recording about 600 new cases over the weekend.

Local health experts say most of the cases they’re seeing are unvaccinated people spreading the virus to each other with the delta variant now the most dominant strain in the area. 

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. OlivIa Kasirye.

With Sacramento County averaging 130 new cases of COVID-19 daily, most of them have been linked to the delta variant. 

“We know that the numbers started going up slightly after the opening June 15, which was expected,” Dr. Kasirye explained. “But there’s concern because of the delta variant that is circulating.”

Health experts are paying close attention to the highly contagious strain of the virus that they say is spreading rapidly among primarily unvaccinated people who are spending more time out and about.

“It’s almost twice as infectious and that means you’re going to get more cases, more cases in those who are unvaccinated, and we might also get more vaccine breakthrough cases,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Vaccine breakthrough cases are when fully-vaccinated people contract the delta variant, but Dr. Blumberg said if that happens the symptoms tend to be mild.

“Patients generally aren’t hospitalized and they generally don’t have serious disease,” Dr. Blumberg told FOX40. “It will be more like a cold or the flu once you’re vaccinated and I think we can all live with that.”

It’s one reason health officials in California’s capital are putting their focus on inoculating places like rural communities where immunity is low and vaccine hesitancy is high.

“We do still have some communities with low vaccination rates and that’s where our concern is,” Dr. Kasirye said. “To get people vaccinated because that is what is going to help us get through this.”

Experts predict a mild uptick in cases throughout the summer while the weather is still warm and say the real test will be the fall and winter when the cooler temperatures bring more people inside. 

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