Three more Scott County residents were hospitalized Wednesday with COVID, including two women, 26 and 44 years of age and a 59-year-old male, according to information from the WEDCO Health District.

As of Wednesday night, there have been 583 new cases of the coronavirus in Scott County reported during August, pushing the county’s 7-day incident report to 73. The county’s 7-day incident report on June 6 was 10, according to WEDCO statistics.

William Haugh, CEO of Georgetown Community Hospital, took to social media this week urging people to get vaccinated as the number of local COVID cases continues to climb.

“We are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients across our hospitals as the delta variant continues to spread,” Haugh said. “We know the majority of people coming through our doors with COVID are not vaccinated.”

Due to the rising number of infections and hospitalizations, Haugh said the hospital has implemented new safety measures.

“We are taking additional safety precautions at our facilities including strict masking rules, social distancing and limits on visitors,” Haugh said. “We take these precautions to keep our staff and patients safe.”

Even though the number of hospitalizations is rising, the majority of COVID patients are being treated on an outpatient basis, Haugh said. The hospitalizations tend to fall in the 40-to-60 years of age range, he said.

In Scott County, COVID seems to be striking residents younger than 40 years of age especially hard, which is also the age groups with the fewest vaccinations. Through Aug. 18, 311 of the August COVID cases are under the age of 40, including 213 in the 18-t0-40 age bracket, based upon numbers provided by WEDCO. The county’s vaccination rate for residents over 65 is above 90 percent. There is no vaccine for anyone 11 or younger.

WEDCO continues to offer vaccinations each Friday at the Scott County Public Health Department on Washington Street from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. each Friday.

“Our vaccinations have been steady, but nothing unusual,” said Dr. Crystal Miller, WEDCO public health director, indicating that despite the recent increase in COVID cases there has not been a substantial influx of individuals wanting the vaccines.

WEDCO is now offering booster shots for immunocompromised individuals, Miller said. The booster shots are for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as there is no booster shot for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control has released a statement that it needs more evidence before recommending J&J vaccine recipients take an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, because the J&J vaccine is based on a different technology than the other two vaccines.

The CDC is recommending a booster shot for immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients and people who have transplanted organs, because studies have shown these individuals did not get as much immune response from the two doses as they would with a third dose. Those same studies have shown that 44 percent of the so-called breakthrough infections that put people in the hospital involved immunocompromised people in these categories.

The Scott County School System is requiring masks for teachers, students, staff and visitors. WEDCO has provided some schools with clear masks so teachers in classes such as choir can see the students’ mouths.

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com. 

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