Fresno County Health officials bracing for winter surge of COVID-19 cases

Currently, about 20% of COVID-related hospitalizations in Fresno County are breakthrough cases.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This past week, Fresno County recorded an average of 3,300 COVID-19 vaccines per day.

Compare that to just a couple weeks ago when that number was 2,000 vaccines per day.

"About 20% of our daily doses being administered are representing boosters so that means there's still a lot of first and second doses being administered. We're seeing good momentum picking up right before the holidays," said Joe Prado from the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Prado said 63% of the county's eligible population has received at least one dose. The goal is to reach 70% by the holidays.

Children ages 5 to 11 could help them reach that milestone.

"Five percent of them have received at least one dose. That's about over 6,000 doses that have been administered to the five to 11 group," said Prado.

That is a higher rate of vaccination than adults had in the first couple weeks of vaccine rollout in December of 2020.

But hospitals in the county are still operating above capacity, with many admitted patients being held in the emergency room. Now they're bracing to be even busier following Thanksgiving.

"We're really worried that as the winter surge comes on in full force between now and Christmas time, we will be challenged once again and we're trying to decompress as much as possible," said Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Vohra said the period between Thanksgiving 2020 and the new year was especially difficult for area hospitals.

On a positive note, this year could be different since the vaccine is widely available and hospitals are stocked with more antibodies to help with treating COVID patients.

Vohra added that social distancing should still be practiced this Thanksgiving and people should mask up when holiday shopping, even if they are vaccinated.

Currently, about 20% of COVID-related hospitalizations in Fresno County are breakthrough cases.

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