SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) – Sonoma County’s health officer lauded residents on reaching the milestone of 75% of eligible residents being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but warned that the Delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated continues to remain a concern.

According to health officer Dr. Sundari Mase, 323,605 residents age 12 and older are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, while another 33,193 have at least one shot. The county’s vaccination rate is outpacing national and state averages on people being fully vaccinated (62% and 67%, respectively).

Among 12 to 15-year-olds, the county reports that more than 65% have received at least one shot in the four months since the vaccine was approved for adolescents.

While Mase noted the milestone in vaccinations, she also noted COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are up significantly since spring due to the more infectious variant, spreading largely among the unvaccinated. Sonoma County health officials recorded 16 virus-related deaths in July and 30 in August, up from one death in May and four deaths in June.

All deaths were among the unvaccinated or were elderly with underlying medical conditions, officials said.

“Our hospitals and ICUs are still over-loaded with unvaccinated patients. Forty-six of our residents have died from COVID-19 in the past two months alone,” Mase said. “These deaths are especially tragic because they were preventable. Almost all of them were unvaccinated by choice.”

During the Delta surge, officials said the vaccination rate surged nearly 40% in August, with the county averaging 1,029 doses per day. In July, the county averaged 737 doses per day.

The vaccine milestone comes as Sonoma County began requiring first responders to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing as of September 1. A similar requirement went into effect for all county employees starting Tuesday.