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Recent increase in Placer County COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed previous winter spike, ICU was double

"We obviously saw a spread of delta among lower levels even among people who were vaccinated," said Dr. Rob Oldham, the director of health and human services.

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — The recent surge of coronavirus patients in Placer County hospitals has surpassed the 2020/2021 winter levels, county health officials said Wednesday.

The Director of Health and Human Services for Placer County Dr. Rob Oldham said although cases are starting to decrease in hospitals, the increase in COVID-related hospitalizations in August and September surpassed the previous spike last winter.

However, the number of people in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was double what it was during that same winter spike, according to Placer County's COVID-19 dashboard.

"Part of the reason why we did see more acuity and more ICU hospitalizations —it was almost all delta cases and almost exclusively unvaccinated people who were going in the hospital," Oldham said. "We obviously saw a spread of delta among lower levels even among people who were vaccinated."

Credit: Placer County Public Health
COVID-19 Dashboard as of October 6 showing the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

In a statement to ABC10, Kaiser Permanente said that unvaccinated patients are driving hospitalizations for COVID-19.

"Over 85% of the patients in our northern California hospitals including those in intensive care, are unvaccinated. It is clear that vaccination against COVID-19 prevents most infections and reduces severe illness from this virus, and reduces the need for hospitalizations," Kaiser Permanente wrote. "Widespread vaccination is our best hope for stopping this virus and keeping our communities safe."

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Oldham said the data is showing it's probably more likely for people to go into the hospital if they contract the delta variant.

As far as whether there will be another spike in cases and hospitalizations similar to last winter, Oldham said it's too soon to say.

"Everything keeps changing with this pandemic, we think we know something then it changes," Oldham said.

Looking ahead to COVID-19 messaging for the holidays, Oldham said the county is waiting for guidance from the CDC and CDPH for specific messaging.

"I don't expect really any restrictions like we've seen in the past but probably expect to see some guidance that'll probably be looser than the holiday guidance from last year," Oldham said.

Right now, the seven-day average daily case rate in Placer County is 18.5 per 100,000 people.

Some cities in Placer County are still seeing more than 70 cases per 10,000 people in the last 30 days including in Rocklin, Penryn, Auburn, Sheridan, Homewood, Tahoe City, Olympic Valley and Kings Beach, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.

Placer County did not implement an indoor mask mandate in July like other nearby counties such as Sacramento and Yolo County.

The COVID-19 dashboard is updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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