COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions continue to level off after climbing this summer but don’t appear to be headed downhill, Ventura County’s public health director said Tuesday.
“I think we’re still in a plateau or a holding pattern,” Rigoberto Vargas said. “At least they’re not increasing.”
As of Tuesday, 73 people with COVID-19 had been admitted to hospitals across the county, up from 68 on Friday but not close to overwhelming health care resources, Vargas said. At least 10 people were receiving intensive care treatment Tuesday. Two more deaths were reported, increasing the pandemic’s total to 1,537.
The county’s infection rate has fallen — to 34.7 infections a day per 100,000 county residents — but not enough to show a downward trend, Vargas said. The case rate doesn’t include home tests, meaning many infections go unreported.
The metrics continue to show omicron subvariants are highly contagious but generally cause less severe illness than previous strains, he said.
The county is still at high risk for the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will almost certainly remain there when the rating is updated Thursday.
The Novavax vaccine, approved for COVID-19 in July, is now being administered at local sites, including two public health clinics in Oxnard: 2240 E. Gonzales Road, Suite 140, and 2647 Saviers Road in the Centerpoint Mall.
Appointments are encouraged and can be made at https://myturn.ca.gov/ or by calling 833-422-4255. Walk-ins are accepted.
The new vaccine was developed using more traditional technology to fight COVID-19 than other vaccines and provides a choice for people who have put off their inoculations, federal health officials said. It involves two shots given between three and eight weeks apart.
Masks are recommended but not required at the Ventura County Fair, which launches its 12-day run Wednesday and could attract 300,000 people. Vargas said the fair doesn’t present special public health concerns because many of the events are outdoors and COVID hospitalization numbers are stable.
“It’s a good thing to have some normalcy back,” he said.
The California Department of Public Health will provide information about vaccines and boosters at a fair booth Thursday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
USA Today contributed to this report.
Tom Kisken covers health care and other news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at email@example.com or 805-437-0255.
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