New projections show that we could see another major wave of coronavirus cases in the months ahead.
The Chief Medical Officer at Eisenhower Health, Dr. Alan Williamson, calls it "very disturbing” but tells News Channel 3 there is still a chance to change it.
It’s an upward curve that’s concerning health officials.
The estimates show COVID cases will likely continue to rise over the next few months -- peaking in the fall. Health experts say the surge is being fueled by the Delta variant and unvaccinated Americans.
Eisenhower Health’s Chief Medical Officer is seeing this firsthand in their facilities.
"So we're very, very concerned about those projections, that that would once again put a various serious strain on the health systems here in Riverside County." Dr. Williamson told News Channel 3.
Dr. Williamson says we still have a chance to change what happens in the months ahead. “This is a projection of a possible future state. And that's presuming everything goes the way it's going right now. But we have about three months here that we can actually change that graph.”
But Williamson says masks and distancing are not going to be enough.
"Vaccination is clearly the thing that's going to make the difference," he said.
The increase in case rates, hospitalization, and deaths across the state has Governor Newsom concerned.
“Our projections are sobering he said Monday as he urged the non-vaccinated to take action. "We’re at a point in this pandemic where choice, individuals' choice, not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us... and in a profound, devastating, and deadly way.”
Dr. Williamson says while breakthrough cases, or infection in those who are vaccinated, can happen, it’s rare, and usually much less serious.
"All of the vaccines are still well over 95% effective against preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19," Williamson said.
Last week, California saw a 16% increase in people getting vaccinated, a trend that Dr. Williamson says could help relieve the strain on local hospitals.
“Now is the time to get out there, get vaccinated, and then we can indeed see a drastic change in that projection where we've flattened this all back out again, and not have to endure another major surge of cases in our community,” Williamson said.
Dr. Williamson says he is hoping this message is heard by unvaccinated young adults.. He says they are the ones showing up sick and becoming hospitalized.
"If we could get people out there and get vaccinated, then that is the one thing that has been proven over and over and over again, to change the behavior of the coronavirus," Williamson said.
The White House and CDC report about 790,000 vaccinations nationwide over the weekend -- possibly the biggest 24-hour period since early July.
COVID vaccine clinics are open across Riverside County for all residents 16 and older. You can schedule an appointment at: https://www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine.
Seniors who need assistance can dial 2-1-1. Those who register must show proof of age/employment at the time of appointment. Residents under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them when arriving to their vaccine appointment.