New COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations are continuing to increase in San Bernardino County.

New COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations are continuing to increase in San Bernardino County.

Even though the case numbers are still well below where they were during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic last December and January, health officials are concerned about the swift rise of the Delta variant, which now accounts for 83 percent of all COVID-19 cases in California.

In Fontana, a total of 40,915 cases have been confirmed since the crisis began in early 2020. San Bernardino County had 306,273 cases and 4,851 deaths as of July 29.

Officials emphasized, as they have been for months, that the key to stopping the virus is getting more people vaccinated.

While 75 percent of eligible Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and some 62 percent are fully vaccinated, San Bernardino County is lagging behind the state percentage, with just under 48 percent fully vaccinated.

California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that although the Delta variant is more highly contagious than previous versions of the coronavirus, the three approved vaccines have proven to be largely effective against it.

"Bottom line, vaccines are the road through this even with the Delta spreading faster," Ghaly said.

The state also is recommending that all Californians, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public places, mirroring a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control on July 27.

In addition, Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that, beginning in August, all State of California government employees and health care workers will need to verify they have been vaccinated in order to return to work.

Unvaccinated health care employees will be required to undergo mandatory, twice-weekly COVID-19 testing and continue to wear a mask in the workplace. Vaccine verification will also be required in jails and homeless shelters and all State of California government workplaces, with unvaccinated workers required to test once a week.

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