Mariposa County health officials working to increase vaccinations in community

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- After a recent spike in COVID-19 infections, Mariposa County Health officials are working with the state to expand testing and get more of its population vaccinated.

Health leaders say it's not only to protect the population but to lead by example as almost half of the population is unvaccinated and cases are surging.

Mariposa County Health Officer Eric Sergienko says they anticipated the case spike when the state retired the blueprint and opened up the economy.

"What we didn't plan on was the delta variant. It spreads much more easily within a family unit; where with the previous surges, we'd have one case and a secondary case. With Delta, it's one case and everyone is sick," he said.

Sergienko says clusters of cases were found in high contact areas including grocery stores, restaurants and Yosemite National Park.

Of the recent spike in cases, it's the hospitalizations that are most concerning.

"We have 11 residents that are hospitalized, but none are in Mariposa because the hospital doesn't have a negative pressure room," said Sergienko.

Chief Nursing Officer Gonzalo Tafoya says, "On good days, we're able to transfer locally, but we have had some occasions where we have to do as far as Mendocino. Last year, early COVID pandemic, we were at such an impact being a small hospital, a couple of our patients actually went out of state to Nevada."

As the only hospital serving Mariposa County, John C Fremont Hospital is a general acute care facility and critical access point.

Tents are set up outside of the hospital as negative pressure rooms to accommodate the overflow.

Tafoya says it's up to the community to stop the spread and their actions should go beyond testing and vaccinations.

Because of the recent spike in cases, the county is working with the state to expand mobile testing from 2-5 days per week. This will serve school sites as well.
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