Doctors encouraging West Texans to get vaccinated as Delta variant COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:25 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - As vaccines have been made available to everyone ages 12 and older, pandemic restrictions have been lifted across the county.

Dr. Mandeep Othee of Medical Center Hospital says low vaccination rates, combined with the surge of Delta variant COVID-19 cases, could cause those restrictions to come back.

“The Delta strain is here. It’s here among us now. You can get the vaccinations now. It’s never too late to get them. I encourage everyone to consider the vaccinations or get the vaccinations,” said Dr. Othee.

At the end of June, Medical Center Hospital had nine COVID-19 cases from the Delta strain. That number has now ballooned.

“Our numbers have gone up in the hospital, unfortunately. Our admissions have gone up. The number of people who are positive has also gone up because of the new variant. Our vaccination rates are a little bit lower than we would like, so my goal is hopefully to convince or help people consider the opportunity of getting a vaccination,” says Dr. Othee.

Dr. Othee says the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t ever get the virus, but it does reduce the chance of hospitalization and complications.

The vaccines also help the body produce antibodies that will fight against mutations of the virus, like the Delta variant.

“They most likely will not be admitted to the hospital, most likely won’t be admitted to the ICU, or be on a ventilator,” he said. “If you do get COVID, even with the vaccination, your symptoms will be much less than if you weren’t vaccinated.”

As of Tuesday morning, MCH had 23 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Fourteen of those patients are on the regular COVID-19 floor, while the rest are in the Critical Care Unit. Four of those patients are on ventilators.

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