Dr. Robert Wenger

Dr. Robert Wenger

Over the last two weeks we have seen a sudden and sharp increase in COVID positive patients. 80% of COVID strains in the United States is reported to be the Delta Variant. We are not directly testing our positive cases for Delta Variant but based on how the behavior of COVID has changed, I suspect that the Delta Variant is prevalent in our community.

The Delta Variant spreads much easier than other strains of COVID, especially in unvaccinated populations. Over the last two weeks, the vast majority of COVID positive patients in our community have been unvaccinated. We used to believe that only older patients with medical comorbidities were at risk. This seems to be no longer true. We are seeing young, healthy patients in their 20s who need to be admitted for oxygen. A few of these young and healthy patients have required ICU level of care. We are seeing children with fever/upper respiratory symptoms test positive, but they have otherwise been doing well. We have not yet seen an increase in MISC, but a wave may follow 2-3 week after the initial COVID surge.

We are beginning to see breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated patients. These fully vaccinated patients, however, tend to have mild symptoms and are generally not requiring hospital level of care. The vaccines still appear effective, but effectiveness may decrease if the virus continues to spread and mutate.

I would encourage anyone who is unvaccinated to get vaccinated ASAP. The vaccine is free and readily available. The vaccine is safe and effective. We may not know that long term effects of the vaccine, but the benefit clearly outweighs any risk. We know the long-term side effects of COVID and know that anyone can be at risk for severe illness. If you are vaccinated, I would encourage continued mask wearing when out in the community. A simple mask, while otherwise enjoying normal day to day activities, should help to keep you and your family safe.

The vaccine is available at our primary care clinics in Grandview, Prosser, and Benton City. Please call to schedule an appointment. Clinic locations, phone numbers, and community partner information is on our website at prosserhealth.org.

For questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine, please email connect@prosserheath.org.

Dr. Robert Wenger is an emergency medicine physician at Prosser Memorial Health.

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