Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) (CDC Image)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno has announced that cases of Covid-19 continue to rise both statewide and in Monterey County, with the Delta variant of the virus now accounting for a large majority of the infections.

“What we’re seeing here locally is it appears about 95% of the specimens that are sequenced among Monterey County residents with Covid-19 are due to the Delta variant,” Moreno said during a press briefing last Wednesday.

Specimens from a sample percentage of confirmed Covid-19 cases are sent for sequencing to give a statistical estimate of how prevalent certain strains are. Monterey County’s percentage shows a higher appearance of the Delta variant than the statewide 84%.

“Both here and statewide, Delta is definitely the predominant strain causing Covid-19 infections,” Moreno said. “People who are exposed to the Delta variant and become infectious have a viral load about 1,000 times more than past variants, so there’s a lot more virus in individuals who have Covid-19. They’re much more likely to spread the virus to other people.”

Moreno said vaccination remains the key way to prevent serious sickness or hospitalization from Covid-19.

“The case rates for example among unvaccinated Californians is higher than the case rate among vaccinated Californians,” he said. “If you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to get Covid-19. If you’re unvaccinated, you’re much more likely to get Covid-19, particularly now with the Delta variant circulating.”

Vaccination rates in Monterey County have gone up, he reported.

“We are continuing to make progress from week to week,” Moreno said.

As of Thursday, about 75% of the eligible population in Monterey County has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccination.

“The biggest increase over the past week has been among those people between the ages of 12 and 24 years of age,” Moreno said. “Particularly for the population that is 12 to 17 years of age, there was a 3% increase in vaccinations. Among those 18 to 24 years of age, there was a 2% increase among those that are vaccinated.”

This week the countywide case rate is at 5.4 per 100,000 residents, a rate lower than the statewide case rate of 18.3. The countywide test positivity rate is 3.4%, also lower than the statewide positivity rate of 6.9%.

“We continue to see a sustained increase in cases in California and here in Monterey County,” Moreno said.

During the week of Aug. 2 through 8 in Monterey County, there were 324 confirmed Covid cases, 24 hospitalizations, two deaths and 199 recoveries. Of those cases, Soledad had 15, King City had nine, Gonzales had four, Greenfield had two and the Nacimiento through Parkfield region had one.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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