A health care worker preparing a vaccine at a center in Marin County (Photo from Marin County Department of Health and Human Services)

An unvaccinated Marin County resident died from COVID-19 complications this week, the county’s first such death in roughly two months.

The resident, who Marin County health officials did not identify, was admitted to a hospital with respiratory symptoms and died Wednesday. Marin County has now confirmed 186 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.

While the county has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state – 85 percent of county residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated – all of the county’s COVID-19 deaths have been among unvaccinated people.

“It’s especially hard to see people dying from COVID-19 when we know how preventable it is,” Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said in a statement. “We’re sharing this information so our community sees it’s not safe to be unvaccinated.”

Like much of the Bay Area and the state in general, Marin County health officials have observed a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, fueled by the more contagious delta variant and almost exclusively among unvaccinated people.

The county’s seven-day average of new cases per day per 100,000 residents is 4.6 among fully vaccinated residents – in line with the efficacy the three available vaccines showed in clinical trials – and 20 per 100,000 among unvaccinated residents.

Willis noted that while the three available vaccines are not impenetrable, they dramatically lower the chance of serious illness and death among vaccinated people who contract so-called breakthrough cases.

“This latest death has two lessons for us,” Willis said. “The first is how good the delta variant is at finding unvaccinated people, and the second is that unvaccinated people lack protection against severe illness and death.”

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in Marin County and across the state in general.
Marin County residents seeking to get vaccinated are encouraged to visit https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccinefinder to find locations where vaccine doses are being administered.