AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Public Health Department said on Thursday that unvaccinated people are making up the majority of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Now, APH is pushing for more people to get vaccinated to help stop the spread and keep hospitals above water as virus variants circulate.
Amarillo Public Health Director, Casie Stoughton, said flattening the curve is our way through the pandemic.
“As of yesterday we had 41 patients in our hospitals, and only two of those patients had had some vaccination,” said Stoughton.
That means 95% of the people in our hospitals are not vaccinated.
To avoid overwhelming our hospitals, the High Plains region saw back in November and December, Stoughton said our vaccination rate needs to increase.
“The virus is so dangerous and can be so deadly, that the vaccine is—the risks are so minimal compared to the virus itself.”
Stoughton detailed some of those risk saying, “We’ve heard lots of stories of patients who were very healthy athletes that now have pulmonologists that they have to see regularly. You know, patients who may have been discharged, but were discharged home with on oxygen.”
She said the makeup of people testing positive for COVID is across the board, but many of them are under the age of 30, and the vast majority are not vaccinated.
The vaccination rate is still under 40% with the delta variant and other variants circulating.
Stoughton continued saying, “Now, it’s time to get your second dose. For people who have been on the fence about vaccination, now is the time to go ahead and be vaccinated, so that we can slow that transmission so that we don’t give the virus an opportunity to change.”
While some vaccinated people are still testing positive, Stoughton said the vaccine is 94% effective.
“This vaccine is a great insurance policy,” she said. “No vaccine is 100%. It doesn’t say that you’ll never get the virus, but what it does really protect against and what that insurance policy is, is protecting against severe hospitalization and death,” said Stoughton.
As of Thursday,Potter and Randall counties have not reported any deaths for the week of July 18.
Stoughton said the city’s testing site is seeing at least 20 people a day, which is an increase from the single digits they saw a couple of weeks ago. This trend is continuing as demand at the city’s vaccine clinic varies.
The clinic will move from the Amarillo Civic Center to the Amarillo Public Health Department on August 6.