SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) – Santa Cruz County health officials announced Monday that two residents have died due to COVID-19 complications, the county’s first COVID-related deaths in more than two months.

The two residents were both unvaccinated, in their 70s and had contracted the ultra-contagious delta variant of the virus. According to the county, both victims died in a local hospital on Aug. 2.

The county has now confirmed 209 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began.

“With the widespread availability of vaccines, we had hoped to avoid further deaths and serious illnesses due to COVID-19,” county Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that is not happening, and our health care system is being impacted once more.”

According to data from the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, roughly 57 percent of all county residents are fully vaccinated, while just under 66 percent of all residents have received at least one dose.

Vaccines remain available for free to all residents age 12 and up.

“If you have loved ones who have not been vaccinated, please urge them to do so as quickly as possible,” Newell said.

County residents can find information about getting vaccinated at http://www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus or by calling (831) 454-4242 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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