Social distancing sign

A sign asking patrons at a Hanford salon to socially distance while inside.

While the number of COVID cases continues to increase in Kings County, public health said the rate of cases has slowed, hopefully indicating that a plateau or decrease in cases is on the horizon.

Public Health Assistant Director Darcy Pickens said the county saw an additional 572 cases last week, bringing the total during the current surge to more than 1,800 in Kings County. The number, though, shows a slower increase than in previous weeks, which often saw doubling case counts.

“The takeaway from this week's report is that we’re returning to a time when there are frequent, rapid changes to the COVID landscape and we can expect these changes to continue through the current surge,” Pickens said.

Delta variant cases also increased from 80 to 96, but Pickens said they believe that is an undercount because of backups in the state testing labs.

The greatest case increase was among children 0 to 11 years of age, which Pickens said was expected as schools opened back up.

Vaccinations provided by the county increased moderately over the last week, with 390 shots given, leaving more than 96,000 Kings County residents who have received at least one shot.

After approval from the FDA, Pickens said she expects that Kings County would start providing booster shots for immune-compromised individuals who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. She also said the department expects those boosters will soon be offered to other individuals, like those over 60.

Additionally, the state has handed down protocols to the healthcare system in preparation for surges which could fill ICU beds, and would be triggered at given capacities, Pickens said.

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