Although Shasta County’s active COVID-19 cases seem to be leveling off, deaths are becoming almost a daily occurrence, and the virus is killing more middle aged people. Seven more Shasta County deaths by Covid have been reported from Wednesday. They were 2 men and 2 women in their 50s, 2 women in their 60s and a man in his 70s. There were also 114 new cases reported from Wednesday. There are 496 people known to be carrying the virus, 69 of them in the hospital and 21 in the ICU. Shasta County has the highest rate of hospitalizations from Covid of any county in the state, at 51 per 100,000. Shasta is also one of only three counties with a less than 50% vaccination rate. The vast majority of patients who die or get very ill from the virus are unvaccinated. A third dose is recommended for immunocompromised people. Public health and school officials say that until children can be vaccinated, masks are the most reasonable and effective way to protect them. Information on testing and vaccinations can be found at shastaready.org.