This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist was testing patients’ samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using the CDC serologic test. (James Gathany/CDC 2020)

Santa Cruz County’s 217th COVID-19 death was reported this week.

The individual was an unvaccinated Latino man in his early 50s with underlying health conditions, the county’s public health division said on Thursday.

The department believes his infection was community acquired, the most common means of transmission in the county.

“This death and almost all others are particularly tragic since vaccination makes almost all of these deaths preventable,” said Dr. David Ghilarducci, the county’s deputy health officer.

Ghilarducci and the county’s health department took the recent death as an opportunity to remind residents to get vaccinated or get a booster shot if they are immunocompromised.

While cases in Santa Cruz County have decreased by 23 percent in the last two weeks, there are still about 355 active cases, the county’s dashboard shows.

Most of those cases are among white residents in North County, a 180-degree difference from the beginning of the pandemic where Latinx residents and South County were disproportionately impacted by the virus.

Those who are eligible for a booster shot are urged to contact their health care provider or a local pharmacy to schedule their third dose.

Those who are still unvaccinated are urged to get inoculated as soon as possible.

Those interested in learning more about the vaccine and COVID-19 or scheduling an appointment can visit or call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Residents interested in having a vaccine delivered to their home can fill out a homebound vaccine form at