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Bell County leaders pen open letter encouraging vaccines, masks, and social distancing

Posted at 9:04 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 22:04:51-04

COVID-19 is continuing to spread throughout Central Texas and hospitals are filling up in Bell County where officials are pleading with the community to help stop the spread.

The Bell County Health district, County Judge and local mayors are all urging the public to take action against the spread of COVID, and they're doing so in an open letter to the community.

The spread of the Delta Variant is taking a toll on Bell County hospitals that are filling up with COVID-19 patients.

In fact, they are currently at capacity and the numbers keep going up.

”The reason that we’re at capacity is that for the past few weeks, we have been above that 20 percent threshold," said Dr. Erin Bird, chief medical officer at AdventHealth Central Texas. "So, all the facilities are sharing in that COVID burden.”

That is why political leaders in Bell County have joined the health district in an open letter to the community, pleading with them to take precautions and get vaccinated.

”We’ve got to do all we can as a community, as a county, to try to ensure that we are getting as many people as possible to just get vaccinated,” said Jose Segarra, mayor of Killeen.

According to local health officials, 93 percent of hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated, 96 percent in ICUs are unvaccinated and 97 percent on ventilators are unvaccinated.

It is a trend doctors say is proving that the vaccine works.

”The vaccine is designed to prevent serious illnesses and that’s why you see that 90 percent number," said Dr. Bird. "90 percent of patients that are hospitalized are unvaccinated.”

Bell County has some of the lowest vaccination rates with less than 39 percent of eligible people being fully vaccinated.

That's why leaders like Mayor Segarra in Killeen believe the time for waiting to get vaccinated is over.

”When you have numbers showing that 93 percent of people using the emergency room are not vaccinated, what does that tell you?" asked the mayor. "It says that a lot of people that have been vaccinated are not going to the emergency room.”

Mayor Segarra is joining his fellow Bell County mayors, the health district, and the county judge in pleading with the public to take precautions and get vaccinated if you can.

"It’s a simple thing to do that will go a long way in preventing people from getting sick and dying,” said Mayor Segarra.

Mayor Segarra said he and others felt the open letter to the public was important because everyone involved is part of the Bell County community, and the information is coming from the hospitals right here - not nationally.