PASO ROBLES, Calif. - Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta with Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services released a video message to the community on Friday urging residents to take COVID-19 seriously and get vaccinated.
Chief Stornetta said the recent spike in COVID hospitalizations in the city has left health care workers and first responders exhausted.
He said with all those suffering, what's most concerning is the children.
"What's very concerning is that now, kids sick with COVID-19 are filling our children's hospitals," Stornetta said. "This is a population that is especially vulnerable as those under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccine. 33% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 are in the ICU."
This announcement comes as a portion of the Paso Robles Fire team is up north assisting with the growing wildfires.
Stornetta said the time it takes the crew that is left to put on protective gear and sanitize equipment before and after responding to emergencies has negatively impacted the fire department's work.
He concluded the video message by urging residents to get vaccinated in order to help protect themselves from severe COVID-19 infection.
To watch the full video message, click here.
At this time, there are 1,468 active cases of COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County.
Paso Robles remains the city where the highest number of COVID-19 cases have been found in SLO County. A total of 5,249 cases have been reported out of Paso Robles since the start of the pandemic. 26,143 have been identified countywide.
For updates and more information on COVID-19 throughout SLO County, visit www.emergencyslo.org.