AUGUST 9, 2021 – The highly contagious delta variant of COVID is surging across our region. Delta puts unvaccinated people at higher risk of serious illness or death. Delta also can be spread by vaccinated people. Here’s what you need to know for your health from Dr. Jennifer Fischer, Director of Emergency Medicine at NH+C:
Vaccination is your best protection. COVID vaccines are highly effective at preventing illness and spread of virus, including the delta variant. They are especially effective at preventing hospitalization and death. If you are not yet vaccinated, your best protection is to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Call 507-646-8019 to schedule at NH+C. Vaccination is free.
Young, healthy people are getting very sick. Doctors are seeing patients get sicker, quicker. Northfield Hospital’s Emergency Department now has an uptick in patients 25-55 years old, unvaccinated, much sicker than COVID patients in the past. More patients need hospitalization. Across the U.S., almost all (more than 9 in 10) COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have occurred among people who are unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated. (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of state data, July 30 2021) Young, healthy people should be vaccinated, too.
Breakthrough cases mean the stakes are higher now. Because delta is so highly contagious, we must rely on widespread vaccination to keep the virus from traveling between bodies and getting stronger.
Vaccination limits the number of bodies that the virus can infect; this prevents the virus from mutating and getting stronger. The first goal of vaccination is to protect you. The second goal is to protect everyone: to block the paths that virus can travel from body to body.
A very small number of fully vaccinated individuals do become infected: between 0.01% and 0.30% in different states (as of July 30). Breakthrough cases are expected: No vaccine is 100% effective. Breakthrough delta cases are uncommon right now; getting more people vaccinated will slow the spread of delta and keep it from getting stronger.
Masks + distance make us all safer. Vaccinated people can pass the delta virus to others. Whether or not you are vaccinated, these steps help keep you and others safe: Wear a mask, especially indoors; keep your distance; wash your hands; isolate yourself if you get sick.
Get tested for any symptom. Even if you think it’s allergies or a cold, it’s crucial to rule out COVID so you don’t spread this incredibly contagious variant to others. NH+C clinics offer COVID testing by appointment; call your clinic to schedule. On weekends, call Urgent Care (9:00 am-1:00 pm) at 952-469-0500.