BFHD COVID update says August has been the worst month of COVID cases since pandemic first started

TRI-CITIES, WA – August totaled 6,575 COVID cases in Benton and Franklin counties with 23 deaths and an average of around 1,000 cases in both counties, respectively, per 100,000 in the last 14 days. This surpasses the month before and December 2020, which was once considered the worst month of the pandemic.

“Over the last two weeks there have been 100 hospitalizations per day,” says Benton Franklin Health District Officer Dr. Amy Person in today’s press briefing.

1 in 4 hospitalizations are those with COVID-19 in addition to an ICU and hospital system already maxed out for beds.

It is for this reason that Dr. Person said it’s vital we take responsibility to keep this pandemic under control by taking precautions like wearing masks, limiting big gatherings, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.

And while there are cases of people getting COVID despite being vaccinated, their symptoms are usually milder. Vaccines are proven more likely to keep you from severe symptoms and hospitalization.

“The purpose of these precautions is not to eliminate COVID-19 but to get this infection under control,” said Dr. Person.

Even if you’ve already had COVID, Dr. Person advises you to still get vaccinated.

“You may have some antibodies from getting the virus but those wear off and are not as strong or effective as getting vaccinated,” said Person.

Otherwise, we’ll continue to see negative impacts on our hospitals, healthcare workers, economy, businesses, and schools.

“Vaccination remains the safest and most effective way for us to protect enough people in this community to slow the spread of covid-19,” said Dr. Person.

Dr. Person says small risks of the vaccine like possible side effects, which are normal for any vaccine, far outweigh the increasing number of deaths and severe hospitalizations for those who get COVID and are not vaccinated. In fact, the health district is seeing more people who didn’t want to get vaccinated now changing their minds.

“Many of those examples are occurring because of their personal experience or family or friends hospitalized or deeply affected by COVID. We’ve seen people get vaccinated because they had a loved one die from COVID.

Now that schools are back in session, Dr. Person encourages parents and teachers to continue being safe, because this disease that we once saw affecting mostly elderly people, is affecting all ages.

There have been children in our area who’ve been hospitalized with covid-19.” said Person.

While Dr. Person says we’re all tired of this pandemic, health leaders say teachers and students need to continue to wear masks because it’s proven effective.

We have seen the effectiveness in not seeing transmission in schools last spring when they were wearing masks.” said Dr. Person.

Hence the vaccine mandates for teachers and masks requirements.

“We want our kids to be back in the classroom and get the educational experience we want and need,” said Dr. Person.

Source: NBC Right Now