California’s Humboldt County is struggling against the coronavirus pandemic as the infection continues to surge across the region with officials recording 137 new positive cases last week, the most number of new patients since early February.

County officials reported an additional 33 COVID-19 cases over the weekend while the number of cases in the state slowly decrease. Humboldt now has a total of 3,885 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Rising COVID-19 Cases

The county’s seven-day average positivity rate is currently 3.1% and is more than three times the California average. Authorities said the surge of new cases was due to the new variant of the COVID-19 virus that came from the UK.

“Our recent increase in cases shows just how contagious this variant is. Until now, older adults experienced the most severe outcomes of COVID, but now we’re seeing younger people getting sicker and younger people being hospitalized,” Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said.

Residents aged 20 to 29 make up about 23.3% of the new COVID-19 cases in the county, health officials said. They represent the age group with the highest number of coronavirus cases. Last week, nine of 17 residents under the age of 30 were hospitalized due to the coronavirus.

Officials also believe that mass gatherings such as the one at a Pentecostal church caused the rapid spread of the virus. “Given how easily this variant spreads, we still need to wear masks in public, maintain distance, and do everything we can to avoid large gatherings, especially indoors, until more of us are vaccinated,” said Hoffman, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The county has also recorded one case of the coronavirus’ P.1 variant from Brazil using genomic sequencing. About 27% of the region’s residents are fully vaccinated, which is relatively low compared to California’s 40%. Last week, Hoffman said the health department declined to receive 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine due to insufficient demand.

“We’re at a point where certainly the people who were well-connected to information in society knew how to get the vaccine, and have now gotten it. Now we’re having to get out to people who didn’t have as much access in the past. So we’re going to keep vaccinating as long as people are there to show up for clinics,” said Hoffman.