Breckenridge Texan

COVID-19 Update: Stephens County currently has three cases of the disease

COVID-19 Update: Stephens County currently has three cases of the disease
June 25
20:04 2021

Stephens County has three current cases of COVID-19, the highest number the county has had in several months but still much fewer than there were at the beginning of the year.

After the number of current-at-the-time COVID-19 cases reached more than 90 in early January 2021, the number began dropping, coinciding with the arrival of the vaccine for the disease. The first shots were given on Dec. 31. By April, Stephens County had no cases of the disease.

According to Chris Curtis, director of business development for Stephens Memorial Hospital, at least 2,333 local residents age 12 and older have been vaccinated. That’s about 29 percent of the adult population.

After the initial surge in vaccinations, demand for the vaccine has slowed. The Breckenridge Medical Center currently offers the Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines. To arrange to get the vaccine at BMC, call 254-559-3363. Additionally, the Walmart in Breckenridge has vaccines available on a walk-in basis.

The Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines are for adults age 18 and older. Parents who want to get their kids ages 12 to 17 vaccinated can visit www.vaccines.gov to find a place in the area that offers the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for anyone age 12 and older, Curtis said. There are several places in Abilene and Mineral Wells offering the 2-shot vaccine, he said.

Both the Texas Department of State Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend getting vaccinated as the best way to avoid getting the disease which has killed almost 4,000,000 people worldwide, including more than 600,000 in the United States.

Additionally, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has encouraged Texans to get the vaccine, explaining that the vaccines are the most effective weapon against the disease.

According to a recent Associated Press article, 99% of Americans who die from COVID-19 now are unvaccinated. The story also reports that in areas with large percentages of unvaccinated residents, cases and deaths from COVID-19 are rising.

According to research, the vaccines are effective even against new variants of the disease, such as the delta variant, another AP article reported. The delta variant is responsible for 90% of the cases in the United Kingdom and 20% of the cases in the U.S., but that number is expected to rise in the United States.

Curtis said local officials have no way of knowing which variant the cases in Stephens County are. “We don’t have the ability to check for variants, so there’s no way to say which strain it is,” he said in an email Friday afternoon. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts random testing with sequencing to look for specific mutations. They collect random samples from larger labs where mass testing is sent.”

 

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