ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Public health officials are pleading once again for Taylor County citizens to get their vaccines.
“If you look at the original strain, each infected person we expected them to infect between 2 and 3 other people,” says Abilene Taylor County Public Health Director Annette Lerma.
But due to the rise in the delta variant, Lerma says, “that rate goes from 2 to 3 – that 1 person would likely infect between 5 and 9 people.”
Lerma explains that the people living in Taylor County are lagging significantly behind in the percentage of those being vaccinated in comparison to the rest of state.
“We’ve got about 73% of the 65 and older population vaccinated here in Taylor County, but we’ve only got still about 39% of those who are eligible – the 12 and older population – vaccinated,” said Lerma.
The average age of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped about 10 to 15 years.
“Early on in the pandemic, the average age of hospitalization usually ranged between 65 and 68,” said Lerma.
And Lerma says the most at-risk population is now those who are young and unvaccinated.
“Currently our average age in the ICU is 48 and that is much lower than what we experience the previous 2 surges. And we have patients less than 30 years old on the ventilator,” said Vice President at Hendrick Health, Susan Greenwood.
Greenwood tells us staffing at both facilities continues to be stretched thin after being denied twice for additional help from the state.
“Our staff members are the best, and they are troopers. And they are concerned about this community,” said Greenwood.
Leading them to urge the community to be part of what they believe is the solution, getting vaccinated.
“It is a different ball game this time. It appears to be more aggressive; we are on a stronger uptick and the game-changer at this point is vaccination,” said Greenwood.
Hendrick reported on Thursday, August 5th that there are currently 73 COVID patients between both campuses, with a waiting list for ICU beds that currently remain at capacity.