Just when we thought things were safe, COVID appears to be rearing its ugly head again. While the numbers are not staggering, the South Plains is seeing an unfortunate trend upward in COVID numbers.
According to CDC numbers, Terry County is now in the high rate of transmission category. Only last week, Terry County showed to be in the low category. In the State of Texas as of Tuesday July 27, 2021 there are 4626 COVID patients in the hospital. Two weeks prior there was 2100 COVID patients in hospitals. According to Micael Tackitt, Brownfield Regional Medical Center (BRMC) Clinic Director said, “We are seeing the growth in bed utilization… it is up… we are going to be out of beds in the State of Texas like we were in the fall and winter in the next four to five weeks with our current rate of growth.”
One issue with COVID-19 coming back are the variant strains, this according to Tackitt. “There is all sorts of research and data that goes into studying the variants.” said Tackitt. The most common variant right now is the Delta variant. Also another variant that continues be found is the Gamma variant which is mainly located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Tackitt said, “The Gamma variant is similar to the Delta… its just a different mutation. It’s the same and more contagious and little bit more deadly.”
With the uptick in coronavirus cases in Terry County and around the nation, according to health professionals the best way to fight the virus is with the vaccine. For those who have had their vaccines shots early, it could be recommended to get a third booster shot to help curb the non-variant and new-variant strains. “It may be for early vaccine recipients… so if its been more than six months since you got your second dose, you may need a booster shot. That still being investigated, it’s not guaranteed but it hasn’t been ruled out either.”
As of Tuesday July 27, 2021 the Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) is reporting that 99.3% of the new COVID cases are coming from those who are not vaccinated. Tackitt stated,”This speaks to the efficacy… when ever you have only 30% of the population of Texas is vaccinated and they make up less than 1% of new cases, its a very strong indicator the vaccines are doing what they suppose to be doing.” At BRMC in the past two months the clinic would administer about five to ten vaccines a month, whereas the past couple of weeks the clinic has been giving 10-20 vaccines a day. “Vaccines are free” stated Tackitt. Something else to note is the rural areas of Texas and the US have the lowest vaccine rates.
Tackitt wanted the public to know that they are not trying to scare people, and that BRMC is prepared again for another round of large numbers of COVID cases. “Jerry (Jerry Jasper: CEO of BRMC) has been working with the governors office and reached out to several other hospitals to work with getting more staff.” Tackitt said. He went to also say, “We are buckling up and getting ready. We know its coming.”
According to the CDC webpage information:
“The United States is once again seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. As of July 22, 35% of U.S. counties are experiencing high levels of community transmission. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in nearly 90% of U.S. jurisdictions, and we are seeing outbreaks in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage. These worrisome trends are due, in part, to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources and could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.
“An increase in COVID-19 cases also creates more opportunities for the virus to mutate, which could lead to the emergence of new variants. Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are now responsible for all cases in the United States. The original strain is no longer detected among variants circulating throughout the country. The B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant is now the predominant variant in the United States, making up an estimated 83.2% of recent U.S. cases. The best way to slow the emergence of new variants is to reduce the spread of infection by taking measures to protect yourself, including getting a vaccine when it’s available to you.
“COVID-19 is now a preventable disease. The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States are safe and are effective against B.1.617.2 and other variants. If you receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you will need 2 shots to get the most protection. You should get your second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it. If you are only partially vaccinated, you are more likely to get infected, get sick, and spread the virus to other people. When you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”
COVID-19 Update Gaines County
Gaines County total cases: 1477
2 New case confirmed
COVID-19 Update Dawson County
Dawson County total cases: 1757
3 New case confirmed
COVID-19 Update Terry County
Terry County total cases: 1707
0 New cases confirmed
COVID-19 Update Yoakum County
Yoakum County total cases: 880
1 New cases confirmed
COVID-19 Update Lynn County
Lynn County total cases: 632
2 New cases confirmed