There may be some light at the end of the tunnel in our fight against COVID-19. Riverside County reports that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased in September compared to previous months.
“Our numbers are moving in the right direction. For instance, a few weeks ago, our COVID hospitalizations were as high as 650, 675. Most recently, they’ve been below 400,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Riverside County Public Health Officer. “(COVID cases are) probably at half the level they were a few weeks ago.”
Although the county is seeing a decline, county health officials caution residents that the pandemic isn’t over.
“Although about ⅔ of our eligible population is at least partially vaccinated in Riverside County, we’re still seeing a large number of cases and we still have an unacceptably large amount of people ending up in the hospital or with serious complications related to COVID, so we know we’re not through the pandemic yet,” said Dr. Leung. “We’re getting close and if we can get some additional people vaccinated in our community, we’ll be at a much better place.”
Health officials still say the vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID, as well as severe complications and death.
“We do believe that COVID cases and hospitalizations are largely preventable, and if you look at those people who have unfortunately passed away, 97% of those deaths in Riverside County (are) people who have been unvaccinated,” said Dr. Leung.
As of now, health officials report that approximately 65% of all those ages 12 and older are at least partially against COVID-19. On Wednesday, Riverside County launched a vaccine campaign to increase vaccination rates in certain communities by developing & deploying culturally relevant & in-language messages and public service information.
“We know that our Latino and African-American populations have lower vaccination rates among our communities so they’re really at greater risk when it comes to infection or serious illness related to COVID,” said Dr. Leung. “Our goal is to reach out to people within their trusted communities and make sure they have every opportunity to get the vaccine.”
Health officials say those groups could hold the key to herd immunity.
“We do think that increasing our vaccination among our Latino and African-American communities could really take us to that herd immunity level,” said Dr. Leung.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit https://www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine-with-Registration.