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SGMC seeing increase in hospitalizations, COVID positive tests in those vaccinated

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - COVID-19 cases are rising again after months of a steady decline.

In South Georgia, hospitalizations increased.

Health officials said some people that have gotten a vaccine are testing positive.

“If there’s one message that I would like to push out to our community that we care for is that ‘it is still here, it is still a threat,” said Brian Dawson, South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) chief medical officer.

Cases were on a gradual decline until a couple of weeks ago, according to Dawson.

“At one point, we were running about three to eight patients that were in the hospital. Overall and now, we’re running about eight to 13 COVID patients in the hospital. Some of the trends we’ve seen during this time is that these patients seem to be a bit younger,” said Dawson.

Dawson said the average age of those hospitalized last year was 64.

Now, they’re seeing more patients in their 40s and 50s.

Of the people recently testing positive, Dawson said about half of them are vaccinated.

He said the vaccinated ones had weaker symptoms while those unvaccinated who appear sicker are being admitted more often.

“The last time I looked, the patients we had in the ICU that were in ventilators, none of them had been vaccinated at that point,” said Dawson.

Data from the CDC indicates that in June, of all the people that died from the virus, 99.2% of them were not vaccinated.

Dawson said the primary defense against the spread is vaccinations, especially now with the more transmissible, Delta Variant.

“Because of its higher transmissibility and the fact that it seems to have a greater impact on people and a little resistance against the vaccine, that’s one of the things that has us concerned,” said Dawson.

Pfizer and Moderna have about 88% protection against the Delta variant.
Pfizer and Moderna have about 88% protection against the Delta variant. (WALB)

Dawson said the Delta variants transmit 50% more than the normal strand.

Those who contract it have double the risk for symptoms and hospitalizations.

Pfizer and Moderna have about 88% protection against it, according to Dawson.

When Pfizer approved the eligibility for vaccines to those 12 and over, Dawson said vaccination numbers in the younger age group increased.

But now they’re low again.

He says vaccinations not only help stop the spread but also help keep the virus from mutating.

As of Monday, SGMC has 16 people hospitalized according to their daily report.

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