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Delta variant finds its way to West Plains, Mo.

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Friday morning, Ozarks Healthcare reported the three patients hospitalized for COVID-19. On Monday morning, just three days later, that number was up to ten.

“Before, most of our patients who were hospitalized, who had serious illnesses, were in the 50s, 60s, probably more above the age of 60,” said Dr. Curtis Horstman. “Now we’re starting to see some in their 30′s who have been quite ill.”

Dr. Horstman said he has seen some COVID-19 among patients fully vaccinated, but those cases have not been severe.

The director of the Howell County Health Department Chris Gilliam says the number of active COVID-19 cases increased from 21 two weeks ago to more than 60 as of Monday. He said one person died from the virus last week.

“We have confirmed we have Delta virus cases in Howell County,” said Gilliam. “It’s hard to predict just how big a threat that’s going to be, we do know it’s a much more contagious type of virus.”

Meanwhile, Gilliam says only 17.5% of Howell County residents have been fully vaccinated.

“If we’re ever going to return to some form of normal, we’ve got to see higher vaccination rates,” said Gilliam. “We’re working on ways to make the vaccine more accessible.”

Misty Traver’s 51-year old husband almost died from COVID-19 in 2020. Four of her five children have been vaccinated, but her 21-year-old son does not trust the vaccine and has refused to be vaccinated.

“He says that since it hasn’t been approved by the FDA, it’s only been approved for emergency use, he’s reluctant to get it,” said Traver. But she disagrees. “I just feel like if I can do my part to get rid of COVID to open the world back, to get back to normal, to protect other people’s lives, I’m gonna do that.”

Officials at Ozarks Healthcare said they are concerned about with the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, the COVID-19 situation will get worse before it gets better. As families gather together. Dr. Horstman agrees with the CDC recommendation that even if you have been fully vaccinated, you still should wear a mask when indoors.

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