Five Bell County leaders signed an open letter to Bell County residents on Monday, stressing the importance of vaccinations in regards to hospitalization capacity.
The letter said data surrounding vaccines is not debatable, and can not be denied. Local leaders said, according to the county's largest healthcare provider, 93 percent of patients that are hospitalized are unvaccinated, 96 percent of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated, and 97 percent of COVID-19 patients on ventilators are unvaccinated.
The letter said health care services in the county are stressed, and workers are exhausted.
"Why? Because COVID-19 patients have filled the beds. Beds that would otherwise be available for those in need of hospitalization ... like someone who has had a stroke, or a heart attack, or in a car accident."
According to Bell County leaders, 3 to 6 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are vaccinated, but 100 percent of those patients have other underlying health issues.
"This data isn't from the CDC or from the State," said Bell County leaders. "It's data from Bell County hospitals. It's from your family, your friends, your neighbors."
Additionally, the Bell County Public Health District on Monday night also wrote to members of the Bell County community. The county now faces COVID-19 threat level one, which classifies as severe uncontrolled community transmission.
According to the public health department, the incidence rate is now at 451.9 per 100,000. Incidence rates at some local school districts are even higher, meanwhile students do not have the option for virtual learning.
"Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases among children are on the rise, and we currently have multiple children in local hospitals suffering complications of this virus," said the health department. "Bell County is lagging behind the rest of the state with approximately 38.75 percent of eligible individuals fully vaccinated."
For the full letter: