Doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the Vernon City Van
Doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Santa Cruz County reports third COVID-related death of a vaccinated individual

A man in his 90s with several underlying conditions was the county’s 216th fatality since the coronavirus pandemic began; the news came just days after health officials announced Santa Cruz County’s first two deaths from COVID-19 of fully vaccinated residents.

Just days after health officials announced Santa Cruz County’s first two COVID-19-related deaths among vaccinated individuals, Thursday brought word of another such fatality.

A man in his early 90s with several underlying health conditions died Saturday, the county said in a news release, making him the 216th death in Santa Cruz County since the coronavirus pandemic began.

On Monday, just five days after the county mask mandate was lifted amid lower case numbers, officials reported the 214th and 215th deaths. The first individual — a female in her mid-60s — had underlying health conditions and died on Sept. 3, the county said. The second — a female in her early 70s — also had underlying medical conditions and died on Sept. 24.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved Santa Cruz County to its second-lowest COVID-19 transmission...

Spokesperson Corinne Hyland said Monday that both had “fairly severe underlying conditions.” She said anyone with such issues should get a booster of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, even if they have already received two shots.

“The coroner had to go ahead to investigate the cause of death, which took a little longer to confirm if COVID-19 was a contributing factor,” said Hyland, explaining the delay between the deaths and the reporting.

She said the health office continues to ask people to practice COVID-19 safety protocols even as cases have decreased.

“It’s still important to wear a mask in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status,” Hyland said.

As of Thursday, 71.03% of the total county population has received at least one dose, with 65.44% fully vaccinated. (That total population figure includes children under 12, who are not yet eligible.) The county encourages eligible residents who are not yet vaccinated to get the shots, citing the significant reduction in the chances of hospitalization and death from contracting COVID-19.

For more information on vaccinations and where to receive a shot, visit the Santa Cruz Health webpage.


12:56 PM, Oct. 07, 2021: This article has been updated with Santa Cruz County’s announcement on Thursday, Oct. 7, of another COVID-related death in a vaccinated individual.

11:55 AM, Oct. 05, 2021: A previous version of this article stated neither community member had received their third vaccine dose. Spokesperson Corinne Hyland said that fact is still under investigation.