Nurse Cherry Costales prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
A nurse prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
COVID 2021

County health officials announce new COVID-19 death

Santa Cruz County health officials announced Thursday morning that a resident died recently due to COVID-19. It was the fourth reported COVID-related death in the county since early August; all four were unvaccinated.

Santa Cruz County health officials announced Thursday a new death related to COVID-19, the fourth since early August and the 211th since the start of the pandemic.

The individual was a Latino male in his late 40s with underlying health conditions, according to a statement from Santa Cruz County Public Health. He was unvaccinated.

The two individuals who died Aug. 2 and the one individual who died Aug. 15 were also unvaccinated. Between June 1 and Aug. 2, the county had no COVID-19 related deaths.

As of Thursday, 69.72% of the county’s eligible population had received at least one dose, and 62.61% were fully vaccinated, per county health data. Those figures are essentially the same as a week ago, when officials also provided detailed statistics about daily average case rates and hospitalizations. No additional stats outside of the vaccination rates were provided Thursday.

County Health Officer Gail Newel said last week that the county as a whole has seen a recent decline in cases related to the Delta variant, with daily case rates decreasing from approximately 60 to the mid-30s.

On Thursday, the Santa Cruz County Health Department announced a decline in positive COVID-19 cases and gave an update...

Yet the county still has a way to go, with 663 active cases and having not yet reaching the goal of 80% of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

Statewide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have seen COVID-19 cases dropping, with California’s transmission level going from “high” to “substantial” earlier this week. This is a welcome sign for many, and is likely the result of relatively high vaccination rates statewide and indoor masking practices.

In Thursday’s news release, Santa Cruz County officials reiterated that the best method to protect against COVID-19, including serious illness and death, is through vaccination. County residents can make vaccine appointments and find further information at Santa Cruz Health.

California’s overall pandemic trends appear to be improving, but that course has been upended before. Vaccination has...