From The Tribune staff reports
JEFFERSON COUNTY — After months of decline, cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County have started to increase again.
This increase is likely due to a combination of more contagious variants, including the highly infectious Delta variant, and the low rate of vaccine uptake in Jefferson County (35.3% of Jefferson County residents have completed vaccination as of 07/06/2021), according to a release from the county department of health.
Health experts say the Delta variant passes from one person to another much easier than the original strain of the virus, and because of this, those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at a higher risk of becoming ill. While the numbers of new cases remain much lower than during the winter surge, the rate of new cases has more than doubled in a short period of time (from 90 cases of COVID-19 detected in mid-June to 190 cases of COVID-19 detected in late-June).
“We want to communicate the importance of being vaccinated to protect the residents of Jefferson County from another surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” read the release from the Jefferson County Department of Health.
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in Jefferson County, with three options: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. Experts say these vaccines are effective at preventing illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19, including the Delta variant, when all doses of the vaccine are completed. For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it is important to get both doses, because protection against the Delta variant is quite low when only a single dose is given. Approximately 330 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the United States and the vaccines have proven to be highly effective and safe. Since the first reports of COVID-19 in the United States, 605,582 people have died from the disease. While the deaths due to COVID-19 have slowed considerably as more people have become vaccinated across the United States, those who are unvaccinated remain at risk for complications, including long-term symptoms, hospitalization, permanent disability, and death.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be given to children 12 years of age and older.
Given the increase in cases due to variant strains, the Jefferson County Department of Health strongly endorses vaccinations for individuals ages 12 and older. Vaccinations are the best way to protect all members of our community and help to avoid another disruptive surge.