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Santa Cruz health experts discuss vaccinations

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Santa Cruz County healthcare leaders gathered today to provide an update on the fight against the pandemic. Health experts are encouraging all eligible residents who haven’t gotten vaccinated to do so.

“This is the proper time if you haven't done it to protect yourself and everyone that you care about,” said Dr. Nan Mickiewicz with Dignity Health.

Dr.Steven Sayler with Watsonville Community Hospital said support from the community is needed to help our front-line workers.

However, they are also encouraging residents to continue getting tested. Health experts are using genome sequencing to track down those variants of the virus. Santa Cruz County said they're doing this in three ways.

First, the state randomly selects 10 % of all positive cases to get sequenced and passes that information to counties.

The second is a process for testing specific samples for those who are at high risk such as those hospitalized or who had recent international travel, said Dr. Gail Newel

"We must assume that we, like most of California, have the Delta variant present in a majority of our cases,” said Dr. Newel.

UC Santa Cruz is also doing its part by sequencing samples collected from their own testing site. Something they're also doing for the state.

“It generally takes us two weeks to get the results after we submit a sample,” said Dr. Newel. “So we're always lagging behind on what's actually happening. So we're working with estimates.”

The expected increase in federal and state funds should help with more lab testing and also whole genome sequencing, she also said. 

The Delta variant is considered the most dominant of all variants statewide. 80% of covid-19 cases are from this variant as the test positivity rate continues to climb in California.

The update comes as some Bay area counties are looking to have employers require their employees to be vaccinated. But Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz County leaders tell me they will not ask employers to enforce a vaccine mandate on employees. 

Local News / News / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories
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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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