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WCHD Stresses The Importance Of Vaccinations To Stop The Spread Of Delta Variant

Community Transmission in Williams County

  • The CDC released a COVID-19 data tracker that can be used to monitor Williams County’s level of community transmission based on two indicators: Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days, and percentage of PCR tests that are positive during the past 7 days. The level of community transmission (low – blue, moderate – yellow, substantial – orange, or high – red) can be used for decision-making to reduce spread within communities.
    • Williams County is considered Red, or HIGH community transmission.
      • Given new information about the Delta variant and its increased spread across Ohio, we want to use all the tools we have available (masking, social distancing, etc.) to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
      • Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks in any public setting, throughout all levels of community transmission.
    • Shift in ages affected: Williams County is seeing an increase in the number of cases and a shift in the age of the cases and hospitalizations. The majority of cases and hospitalizations in the past 2 months have occurred among those ages 30 to 59. There are more cases among those 0-29 than those 60+.

Vaccination Rates in Williams County

  • About 38% of the community has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 87% have completed the series. In Williams County, 27,095 vaccines have been administered among residents.
  • In areas with lower vaccination rates, like in many rural settings, there is higher transmission of the virus. Across the U.S., surges are likely driven by pockets of dangerously low vaccination rates.
  • Williams County’s COVID-19 vaccination rates lag behind our neighboring Ohio counties (Defiance, Fulton, & Henry County) and Ohio.
  • Williams County has done really well reaching our older populations with the COVID-19 vaccine. About 80% of the 65+ population have completed the series.
  • While the vaccination rates are high for the 65+ population, we strongly encourage younger people to get vaccinated.

Importance of Vaccination & Awareness of Local Spread

  • Increasing COVID-19 vaccination coverage remains the most effective means to achieve control of the pandemic.
  • People who are immunocompromised (due to illness such as cancer or medication) and those who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 (65 and older) should take additional precautions regardless of vaccination status to protect themselves against COVID-19.
  • Given new health data about the Delta variant and its increased spread, decision-makers at businesses, schools, churches, and other local groups should consider our community’s vaccination rates and community transmission and implement multiple strategies to reduce the spread in their facilities. In areas where there is prolonged exposure to others, it is critical that precautions are taken.
  • As a result of Senate Bill 22, the burden of the response has been placed on local schools, churches, businesses, and individuals to make decisions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. You should not expect mandates from the state.
  • Using all our tools to limit COVID-19 in our community will make a positive impact on our schools, churches, and businesses, and will keep our residents safe to help life return to normal.

Delta Variant

  • The Delta variant is actively spreading in Ohio. The COVID-19 variant known as “Delta” (B.1.617.2) has been identified as a variant of concern and cases from Delta are doubling each week. Projections show that Delta will be the dominant strain in Ohio within the next two weeks.
  • The following is known about the Delta variant:
    • The Delta variant is more transmissible.
      • Delta variant is about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant that was spreading in Williams County last winter.
      • People who are infected with Delta have about 1,000 times more copies of the virus in their respiratory tracts than those infected with the original strain.
      • It takes less of the Delta variant to spread from the mouth/nose of an infected person to another, non-infected person. Studies are also showing that it takes less time for the Delta variant to spread from person-to-person.
      • With the original strain, 1 case led to 2-3 more cases. With the Delta variant, 1 case typically leads to 6+ more cases.
    • The Delta variant affects younger people (ages <50).
      • The Delta variant affects younger people in a way that previous variants have not.
      • The Delta variant is 2.5 times more infectious among those 50 years and younger.
    • The Delta variant has double the risk of hospitalization than the variant spreading last winter, after adjusting for age and comorbidities.
    • The Delta variant is actively spreading in Ohio.
    • The Delta variant has been identified in Williams County and is expected to become the dominant
  • Vaccination is the best protection against the Delta variant.

Opportunities for Vaccinations

  • The Williams County Health Department understands that people have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine and would like to provide resources that individuals can use to learn more about the vaccine:
    • FAQ documents on WCHD website
    • ODH and CDC Q&A websites
    • Video series by Dr. Park & Dr. Seaman (find on YouTube or WCHD website)
    • Weekly Community Talking Points (posted on WCHD website and social media)
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about the vaccine
    • Data is available on the WCHD, ODH, and CDC website or can be requested
  • The WCHD is working to make getting the COVID-19 vaccines as convenient as possible.
    • Clinics at Events – Working with partners to offer vaccinations at community events, in target zip codes and census tracts, etc. We go where people will be.
    • Workplace Clinics – We also work with businesses to offer clinics onsite to help employees have access to the vaccine without having to take time off work.
    • LTC Facilities – We offer onsite clinics at long-term care facilities for staff and residents.
    • Homebound – Individuals who are homebound can call the WCHD to schedule a date and time for a nurse to come to provide a COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Walk-in Clinics – We offer walk-in clinics twice a week, Mondays & Wednesdays, from 9:15am to 4:30pm.
    • Back-to-School Drive Thru Clinics – We offer back to school immunizations for students in the parking lots of local schools. COVID-19 vaccinations are available for those 12+ (with parental consent).
    • Free transportation – If people have difficulty getting transportation for COVID-19 shots, there is a service that provides free rides to clinics through the ODOT Rides to Community Immunity program (419-592-8726).
    • We take recommendations for clinic locations. We will come to your facility.

Key Takeaways about the Vaccine:

  • Tom Frieden is an American infectious disease and public health physician. He is the previous director of the CDC and is currently the president of Resolve to Save Lives, an organization working to prevent epidemics and disease. He summaries the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine into 5 facts:
    1. If you get infected with the virus, it will go all over your body and stay there for at least a week and be much more likely to cause you long-term problems than the vaccine. The risks of infection are much higher than the risks of vaccination.
    2. COVID vaccines don’t stay in your body. If you get the vaccine, it will prime your immune system but then the vaccine is gone. It will not be with you anymore.
    3. More than 95% of the doctors (nearly every doctor) who have been offered this vaccine have gotten it as soon as they can.
    4. The more we vaccinate, the faster we can get back to growing our economy and getting jobs.
    5. If people get vaccinated, we will save at least 100,000 lives of Americans who would otherwise be killed by COVID-19.

Call to Action

  • We ask that family members encourage their loved ones to take the opportunity to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated. Parents, talk to your (young and adult) children about the risks of COVID-19 and, out of love, encourage them to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • We ask schools to encourage staff, parents, and students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. School districts with low vaccination rates will be affected by COVID-19.
  • We ask business leaders to provide information about COVID-19 vaccines to their employees and encourage them to get a COVID-19 vaccine for themselves, their friends, and their families.
  • We ask faith leaders to reach out to their members to encourage them to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their loved ones.
  • Those who choose not to get vaccinated need to follow other precautions to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask and social distancing.
  • COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease. Get a free COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and loved ones, and to end the pandemic.

Source: The Village Reporter

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