ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Hendrick Health is implementing visitor restrictions and other safety precautions after moving the COVID-19 Community Safety Dial to Level 4: severe.
This comes after Abilene has reported 271 new COVID-19 cases since July 20.
Hendrick Health CEO Brad Holland says they currently have 40 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, which is up from just five a month ago.
Hendrick says the increase of hospitalizations and new cases are most likely a result of the delta variant, which they say is “highly contagious.”
Dr. Rob Wiley says not only is the delta variant more contagious, it is affecting a younger age group, as hospitalizations are up in 20-29 year olds, and they are also seeing cases in the pediatric population.
“While rare, some people who are fully vaccinated can get COVID in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious, especially to those unvaccinated,” a social media post made by Hendrick Health reads.
According to the post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 11 of the 24 counties served by Hendrick as areas with high community transmission, including Taylor and Brown Counties.
Hendrick says they are moving the community safety dial to level 4 based on the seven day community positivity rate and their COVID-19 census.
At this level, restrictions at the hospitals are being implemented, including screening for visitors and pre-procedure testing for patients.
Masks are also required for everyone in the hospitals, regardless of vaccination status.
Hendrick officials say they strongly encourage all who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as it remains the “best form of defense against COVID-19 and its variants and has been proven effective at preventing hospitalization and severe illness.”
To learn more about where you can get vaccinated in Abilene, click here.