The following is a summary of the presentation made by Dr. Tom Locke, our local Public Health Officer and Willie Bence, Director, DEM, Jefferson County, during the Public Health briefings at this week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. The summary was provided by and used with the permission of Jefferson County Government.
Of all the eligible County residents 12 years and older, County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke reported that 70% have been fully vaccinated. “This is among the highest rates in the state,” he said. “ But it’s not where we really need to be to control the variants. We need that population immunity rates in the 80-85% range to really control that transmission of variants, and we knew very early on we were in a race with the variants that if we didn’t get people vaccinated soon enough.” Locke said vaccine-induced immunity is much more protective than natural immunity, and “you don’t run the risk that 10-30% getting long COVID or the 5-10% risk of being hospitalized, or if your child is around 2% of children who are getting COVID-19 are now being hospitalized.” He stressed that people who have had COVID-19 “still need to get vaccinated because it is the only way to give them good protection from the variants that are likely coming.” It takes five to six weeks from the first vaccination to be fully protected. COVID-19 cases in Jefferson are circulating among those who are unvaccinated. Dr. Locke noted of the 10 cases reported last week, five were in one household. Every person tested positive. None were hospitalized . As of today, two people are in the hospital and one is in the ICU with COVID-19.
Director Of Emergency Management Wilie Bence said DEM is winding down its pop-up clinic efforts. They will be ready to handle long-term vaccination strategy focused on distributing booster shots when they’re available. If you have questions about vaccinations, are homebound or just need help scheduling, call 360-344-9791. He noted hospitalizations and bed occupancy are up across the state due to people choosing elective surgeries.
Submit your Public Health questions to Dr. Tom Locke by emailing [email protected]. Note: The weekly deadline for these to be submitted is on Fridays at noon, to be answered at the following Monday’s BOCC meeting.