Man vaccinated at Scripps Health
A man is vaccinated against COVID-19 at a Scripps HealthExpress Clinic. Courtesy of Scripps Health

San Diego County health officials reported 521 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 3,465 over the past seven days as the new delta strain infects unvaccinated individuals.

The daily case total rose above 100 on July 6 and has remained higher ever since, exceeding 500 on three of the past seven days.

“The best protection we have against COVID-19 is getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. If you have not gotten immunized, do it now.”

She said the county is also seeing more “breakthrough” infections in people who have been vaccinated, but these are typically mild cases.

“This does not mean the vaccine is not working. Quite the opposite, the vaccine is doing what it’s supposed to do: keep most people from being hospitalized, or worse, dying,” Wooten said.

President Biden pleaded with Americans on Wednesday to get vaccinated, warning that rising cases threaten to undermine progress against the pandemic and slow the country’s economic rebound.

“Look, it’s real simple. We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten a vaccination. It’s that basic,” Biden said at a town hall event in Ohio.

“Ten thousand people have recently died. Nine thousand nine hundred and fifty of them, thereabouts, are people who hadn’t been vaccinated,” he said.

In San Diego County, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are also trending up, and are likely to rise higher since they lag the initial increase in cases.

The county reported one more death over the past week, brining the pandemic total to 3,787.

The 14-day rolling average of positive tests, which had fallen below 1% at the beginning of the summer, is now at 5.1% and rising.

A total of 1.94 million people, equal to 69.2% of the county population aged 12 and over, are fully vaccinated, and another roughly 300,000 people, or 11%, have received a least one shot.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.