PLATTSBURGH — Through breakthrough infections will happen, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 remains the best defense against severe disease, death or other bad outcomes, a local doctor says.
The Clinton County Health Department reported 10 new COVID cases Monday, two of whom were fully vaccinated.
Dr. Wouter Rietsema, vice president of population health and information at University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, explained that the coronavirus vaccines received emergency use authorization "based on their ability to prevent hospitalization and death as well as symptomatic infection, but that is not 100%."
But he added that the overwhelming majority of people dying of COVID are unvaccinated.
"The news that there are some breakthrough cases that either are asymptomatic or mild does not change that. Get vaccinated!"
CCHD's message aligned with Rietsema's. To those who may question getting vaccinated if it is still possible to test positive, CCHD Senior Public Health Sanitarian Amanda Finckel said it is impossible to predict how COVID will affect you if you get infected.
"So far, the vaccines have been very effective in preventing infections and serious illness," she continued. "Maximizing vaccinations also prevents new variants from emerging."
Asked if either of the two fully vaccinated people were symptomatic, Finckel said the agency does not comment on individual cases.
"But it is very common that vaccinated individuals experience a milder case of COVID-19, if they identify symptoms at all."
CCHD noted that several of the new cases were connected to each other. The agency had not been informed of any variant testing on the cases.
Rietsema said, based on reporting, it sounds like many cases in recent spikes are among families.
"It is quite possible that entire families have decided not to get vaccinated, so it is predictable that entire families might have a cluster of cases, especially with the delta variant that is so transmissible," he said.
The delta variant, which was first detected in India, has reached more than 50% dominance in the United States in general and, in some areas of the country, greater than 70%, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, during a briefing Friday.
NONE AT CVPH
CVPH Sr. Marketing and Communications Specialist Chris Blake said there were no COVID patients in the hospital.
As of Monday, eight people were in isolation in Clinton County. Finckel explained that two of the 10 new cases had already completed their isolation periods.
Essex County Health Department reported five new cases for an active total of 12. Franklin County Public Health did not note any changes since Thursday.
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe's Emergency Operations Center said Monday that three people under its jurisdiction were in quarantine, but there were no active cases of the coronavirus.
CCHD is currently offering free vaccine clinics from 10 a.m. to noon every Thursday. Residents can register by calling 518-565-4848.
More vaccination options are listed on A8.
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