▶️ Delta variant, unvaccinated people likely sources in rising COVID cases

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COVID-19 cases are increasing steadily in Deschutes County with 18 new cases being reported Wednesday.

While things have improved, health officials say the pandemic is far from over.

“With numbers in terms of percentages,” Nahad Sadr-Azodi, Deschutes County director of public health said. “Around 10 to 40% increase since a couple of weeks ago where we saw a drop in cases.”

Sadr-Azodi says this has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

“97% of the hospitalized cases are those who are unvaccinated,” Sadr-Azodi said. “99 point-some percentage of the deaths are amongst the unvaccinated as well.”

The Oregon Health Authority reported four new Deschutes County COVID deaths this week.

Nine COVID patients are also being treated at St. Charles as of Wednesday, three of whom are on ventilators in the ICU.

Chief physician executive Dr. Jeff Absalon says the Delta variant is especially concerning.

“This variant is emerging in our community,” Absalon said. “It is more easily transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus.” 

Absalon adds the Delta variant can cause more severe disease and getting vaccinated can reduce that risk.

“Getting vaccinated is still very protective against getting severe illness from the Delta variant,” Absalon said. “As well as all of the variants that are out there at this time.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant now makes up eight out of 10 COVID cases.

Sadr-Azodi does not believe the virus will ever completely go away, but it can be controlled and reduced.

“The only way to interrupt the transmission is to build a wall,” Sadr-Azodi said. “We do that through tools that we have like vaccination.”

St. Charles would not disclose the vaccination status of its current COVID-19 patients.

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