This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (Courtesy Alissa Eckert, MSMI / Dan Higgins, MAMS via CDC 2019)

Napa County has reported its first death from COVID-19 in a fully vaccinated patient, according to a county spokesperson Thursday.

The woman, a Napa resident, died Wednesday, said Leah Greenbaum, public information officer for Napa County. She was over 65 years of age and had underlying medical conditions and died from complications of COVID-19 after a prolonged hospitalization.

The woman tested positive for the B117 (UK) variant, which is more transmissible and causes more severe illness.

Vaccine breakthrough cases occur in only a small percentage of vaccinated people. Greenbaum said Napa County has identified 32 breakthrough cases in which fully vaccinated residents became symptomatic and tested positive for COVID19–out of more than 71,371 residents who were fully vaccinated as of Thursday. This translates to an infection rate of 0.04% among fully vaccinated residents in Napa County.

Cases of COVID-19 have declined substantially across Napa County in recent months since vaccinations became available, a testament to the tremendous efficacy of the vaccines. However, seniors and immuno-suppressed people may not mount as strong an immune response to the vaccine, underscoring the importance of increasing vaccination rates in the community. So far, 62 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated in Napa County.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this individual,” said Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Public Health Officer. “No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but this does not diminish the urgency and importance of getting vaccinated, especially as more variant strains emerge. Vaccines provide exceptional protection against death and illness from the virus and all residents should continue to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.”