Mass vaccination efforts continue in Kings County

Adventist Health administered 2,700 COVID-19 vaccines during a mass vaccination event at Sierra Pacific High School in this March file photo.

Cases of COVID-19 are quickly rising in Kings County, and vaccination numbers are increasing slowly as the delta variant spreads, county supervisors were told during their weekly public health update Tuesday.

Last week saw 354 new cases, and the number of confirmed delta variant cases jumped from eight to 20, though that number is probably low due to backups in the state testing lab, said Public Health Director Ed Hill.

Of the 27 patients admitted at local hospitals for COVID-19, 88% were unvaccinated, though only 13% were Kings County residents — hospitals are regional and accept non-county residents. Among all vaccinated people in Kings, only .3% are experiencing breakthrough cases, Hill said.

He also said the rate of infection of vaccinated people is within the announced efficacy of both the more traditional Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the mRNA Moderna and Pfizer shots.

The county also saw an uptick in demand for vaccines, with a 30-40% increase in vaccines administered by the public health agency over the last week, Hill said. Those numbers don’t include vaccines administered by other providers like pharmacies.

“The folks in the county are finally starting to get the message,” Hill said. “I think the delta variant increase in cases is starting to drive that vaccine demand.”

Supervisor Richard Valle asked about the state's adoption of a color system indicating transmission level, or how many new cases there are per 100,000 people. Kings County is listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a high transmission area, along with most of California.

Based on the statistics, Interim County Administrative Officer Larry Spikes said the CDC and the California Public Health Department indicate Kings should again be requiring face masks indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, though many cities say they will not enforce it.

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