LAS VEGAS (KGO) -- The highly contagious Delta variant is causing coronavirus cases to increase across the country, including among vaccinated people.
Health officials are starting to see a shift in the number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases, but say the vaccine is still the best defense against the virus.
In June, after more than a year of pandemic stress, Sean Fruit and his wife decided to go to Vegas. They were fully vaccinated and even drove to avoid airplanes, but once they got there...
"I took the option to take my mask off, and now that I look back on it, probably a bad idea," said Fruit.
When they got home to Hollister in San Benito County, Sean started to feel sick. He and his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
"It was extremely frustrating because we just spent a year and a half avoiding this thing and it was scary. I mean I brought home the life-threatening illness that has been killing people around the country," explained Fruit, who added, "the only thing worse than that, is knowing I gave it to my kids."
Too young to be vaccinated, their seven and nine-year-old kids, had congestion and low-grade fevers. But Sean, who has a history of sinus infections, was sick in bed.
"I had never felt pain that bad in my head in my life. With my medical history, I'm pretty confident that if I hadn't had the boost from the vaccination, I might not be standing here talking to you right now," he said.
Sean and his family are okay now, but they're part of a shifting pattern in breakthrough COVID cases.
Of nine COVID patients at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital this past week, two were vaccinated.
Of 13 COVID patients in Marin hospitals, two are also fully vaccinated.
"Right now, we're about one in five of our cases are among people who are vaccinated, before that was about one in ten," said Marin County Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis. "Obviously the concern there is that the vaccine may not be quite as effective against the Delta variant."
Willis says the vaccinated patients in the Marin hospital are older with underlying conditions; he also says they're doing well compared to unvaccinated patients.
"This is not an indictment of the effectiveness of the vaccine, but I think it's a reminder to us that that variants are real, they do represent a risk to us, and our best line of defense is still getting that vaccine."
Sean would get the vaccine again, but says he'd do one thing differently when it comes to his mask -- "Even though I'm allowed to take it off, I shouldn't have taken it off."
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