San Luis Obispo County health officials held a briefing July 29 to urge community members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the county is seeing a spike in cases among unvaccinated individuals.
SLO County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said since June 15, the county has seen a jump from 50 active cases to 274 active cases as of Monday. Four additional COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded since that date.
Borenstein said since January 2021, SLO County residents who are not vaccinated have made up the vast majority of covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
“Vaccines work. They’re safe. They’re effective. They really make all the difference,” Borenstein said.
She said the county has seen some vaccinated individuals test positive for the disease but case rates remain low and steady.
“We are seeing cases of breakthrough among those who are vaccinated and for the most part much milder disease or no symptoms without hospitalization, without death,” Borenstein said. “But there are some people that continue to be vulnerable even post vaccination if they are medically fragile or severely immunocompromised.”
Borenstein said unvaccinated individuals are nearly 70 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated. Nearly 58 percent of SLO County residents are fully vaccinated.
Executive Director for the SLO County Farm Bureau, Brent Burchett, spoke at the briefing. He said he is generally skeptical of government activities and not a typical vaccine advocate. But he got vaccinated and encourages others to do the same.
“Be not mistaken, getting a vaccine is not an endorsement of any policy decision or thing that our local state or federal government has done during this pandemic,” Burchett said. “Getting a vaccine is not a political decision. It is a medical decision.”
The county public health department is now offering incentives to get a vaccine. During the month of August, the three county clinics and mobile clinics will give out $25 gift cards for each dose an individual receives. They will be offered for Home Depot, Grocery Outlet, Target and Amazon. The county is also enrolling people in a $100 raffle for recommending a community member to get the vaccine.
For more information about how to get vaccinated, click here. Walk-ins are available at the county’s public clinics in Grover Beach, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo.
If you are concerned you may have contracted COVID-19, free testing sites are available at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Hall and Centennial Park in Paso Robles.