The delta variant now makes up 85% of COVID-19 cases in Yolo County.
KCRA 3’s Stephanie Lin sat down with county health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson to discuss what the county is doing to mitigate further spread of the virus.
How concerned are you about the delta variant?
Sisson: I’m definitely concerned about the delta variant. It represents 85% of the cases we are detecting in Yolo County. We are also seeing an increase in cases. We’ve gone from 0.6 per 100,000 residents when [California reopened] on June 15, to 3.2 per 100,000 residents today and we believe that’s primarily driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
Have you seen an increase in hospitalizations and deaths?
Sisson: We haven’t seen an increase in our deaths, but we have seen an increase in hospitalizations. On June 15… one person was hospitalized with COVID-19 in Yolo. Today, there are twelve, and eight of those are in the ICU. So, [there are] a significant increase in COVID positive cases in the hospital.
What do you say to those who say there seem to be fewer COVID-19 deaths now compared to last year?
Sisson: Hospitalizations lag behind cases and deaths lag behind hospitalizations. When cases go up, about two weeks later you’ll see an increase in hospitalizations, and two weeks after an increase in deaths. It’s still too early to see an increase in deaths from a surge in cases caused from the delta variant, but they are probably coming, unfortunately.
Where is Yolo County experiencing the highest and lowest rates of vaccination?
Sisson: We continue to see the highest rates of vaccination in Davis, and lowest in West Sacramento and the unincorporated areas. On average, in the city of Davis, 75% of residents have gotten at least one dose of vaccine. Compare that to West Sacramento where 52% have received one dose of vaccine.
Why are vaccination rates so low in West Sacramento?
Sisson: That’s a great question. It’s not all of West Sacramento, it’s one particular zip code, which is 95605. That includes the Bryt and Broderick neighborhoods.
What in particular is happening in those areas?
Sisson: We do have a higher population of Russian-speaking and Spanish-speaking people in that community. There is hesitancy and language barriers. We are working hard to address all those factors but it has certainly been a challenge getting vaccinations in that zip code.
Is there fear over the vaccine?
Sisson: There’s a lot of reasons why people are choosing not to be vaccinated. It varies from person to person. There is a fair amount of misinformation in some communities, particularly in the Russian-speaking community on social media that we are working to combat.
What steps is the county doing to encourage vaccinations and combat misinformation?
Sisson: In particular in the under-vaccinated zip codes, we are working with community-based organizations that speak the language, who look like people in the community and are considered trusted messengers to relay messages about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
We are also working to make getting the vaccine as easy and fast as possible. We have a Vaccine-to-Order program, where anybody in Yolo can call us and we will bring a vaccine to them wherever they are. It is available in English and Spanish, and we are working on Russian.
What is the best way to stay protected against the delta variant right now?
Sisson: The best way to stay protected is to get vaccinated. The vaccines we have are highly effective, even against the delta. They are particularly effective against hospitalization and death. They are slightly less effective at preventing infections. But when we have fully vaccinated people who are infected with delta variant, they tend to have mild disease.
The second best way is for people to wear a mask. I am now recommending as the Yolo County Health Officer that everyone in Yolo County wear a mask regardless of vaccination status when they are indoors, where vaccine status is not being verified.
Yolo County’s Vaccine-to-Order program is available for free, 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Yolo County representatives will travel to administer vaccines at no cost to the resident. To learn more and make an appointment, call: