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Hospitalizations still rising following approval of COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 9:36 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 23:32:57-05

Vaccines are coming to Central Texas soon, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.

“It requires a two-dose regiment, two-dose vaccine. That means you won’t be fully protected until you receive that second dose. It’s going to take a certain amount of time for everyone to get vaccinated. We need 70% of our community vaccinated to have true herd immunity,” said Kelly Craine with Waco-McLennan County Health District.

Meanwhile, ICU beds and hospitalizations are still climbing.

Waco-McLennan County Public Health District officials say they’re averaging around 100 hospitalizations daily with a rate of more than 20%. Bell County has a nearly 11% hospitalization rate.

“Our hospital is definitely seeing a reflection of what we know is our community illness. We’ve had an increase number of COVID patients in our ICU,” said AdventHealth Central Texas Quality Executive Director Karen Percell.

Local health professionals say they expect to see those numbers continue to rise through the holidays.

The Bell County Public Health District upped their COVID-19 threat level to Level 1: Severe Uncontrollable Transmission last week because of the strain being felt local health professionals.

Even though times are tough, local hospitals like AdventHealth Central Texas have several plans to manage hospitalizations.

“I have not reached a point where we need to do that yet. We definitely have well articulate plans that allow us to surge when needed to ensure that we have appropriate equipment and staffing to accommodate the patient load that may come about,” said Percell.

Waco-McLennan County Public Health District officials says they also have plans to open floors, add ICU beds and other surge plans to help more COVID-19 patients.

Official say they plan to distribute the vaccine to healthcare workers and vulnerable communities first. They say it could take several months for the vaccines to reach the general public.