Valley health officials hope rise in COVID cases will lead to more vaccinations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County health officials don't expect cases caused by the Delta variant to overwhelm hospitals but they are worried about the recent uptick in infections.

"What's concerning and disturbing is these are individuals who did not have to get sick.," says Fresno County Public Health Consultant Dr.John Zweifler. "These are going to be younger folks who have their whole lives in front of them."

Dr. Zweifler says more people under 30, even kids between 10 and 19, have been getting sick with the virus.

Seventy people had to be hospitalized this week.

"We started from a relatively low level but in terms of percentage terms, we're seeing more than doubling in the number of hospitalizations and ICU cases," he said.

Tulare County reports 40 cases of the Delta variant. At this point, 18 people are hospitalized with COVID.

"We do not want to see our hospitalization rate to get to a point where there's a surge and they're overly impacted," says Tulare County Public Health Director Karen Elliott.

Health officials hope the steady rise in the Valley's infection rate leads more people to get vaccinated.

Madera County is now paying cash to those who have been hesitant to get the shots.

"We now are offering incentives to the person who is referring the individual $25, as well as the person who was vaccinated $25," says Sara Bosse.

Mariposa County has just two COVID cases but because so many tourists are visiting this summer, the concern is growing.

"More people visiting means more opportunities for transmission, and that's also reflected in our wastewater testing," says Mariposa County Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko

Wastewater testing from Yosemite and Mariposa revealed positive COVID samples higher than they saw a year ago.
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