Kings County pushes for more vaccinations as COVID cases spike

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kings County is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Health officials reported an 84% increase last Friday.

Public Health Director Ed Hill says that's especially concerning because the county's vaccination rate is lower compared to other Central California counties.

State data shows only 34.56% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

But Hill says demand for the shot increased last week, an encouraging sign.

RELATED: California COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

"Well, I think people are starting to understand that the vaccine is again, the biggest tool in that toolkit to protect themselves and their families," Hill said. "I think that those that were reluctant and wanted to wait and see, I think that wait and see is almost over. I'm hoping it's almost over."

Kings County Public Health tracks vaccinations by zip code. As of Tuesday, Stratford's vaccination rate was the highest.

Corcoran was the lowest, though 34-year-old Steve Diaz didn't hesitate to get his.

He had COVID and doesn't want to experience it again.

"When it's the normal flu, you can get through it, but when it starts affecting your breathing, you know (it's) something serious," Diaz said.

Diaz also chose to get the shot to protect his family members.

He says they've been vaccinated too, which has allowed them to spend more time with one another.

"It feels great to be back together and have that bond again," Diaz said.

On Tuesday, the CDC reversed course on masks for vaccinated people, now recommending that masks be worn by everyone indoors in parts of the country with substantial or high levels of virus transmission.

You're at low risk of getting infected if you've been vaccinated, but the agency says early evidence suggests that if you get the Delta variant, you can spread it to others.

RELATED: CDC reverses course on indoor masks in some parts of US

"That's just another tool in the toolkit," Hill said about masks. "Againy, the point of that is to protect yourself and to protect others that can't get vaccinated yet."

Hill says there is no shortage of shots in Kings County.

They're available at pop-up vaccine events, pharmacies, and public health clinics.

If you get your shot at the clinic in Avenal or Corcoran, you'll get a $75 gift card to Walmart or Target.
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