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Uptick in COVID-19 cases comparatively low, mostly unvaccinated people

With a return to some sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, Highland Lakes health officials have noticed a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, but not at 2020 levels.

“We have definitely seen an uptick in the cases in the last couple of weeks,” said Dr. Jack Franklin, the Llano County Local Health Authority. “That said, the numbers are still very low compared to where they were last summer and only a fraction of what they were this winter.”

Burnet County Local Health Authority Dr. Jules Madrigal reported a similar observation. 

“We are seeing a spike but nothing compared to before the vaccines came out,” she said. “Almost all the (recent) cases are in unvaccinated people.”

According to Texas Department of State Health Services data from July 7, Burnet County reported 119 new cases in the previous 30 days. Madrigal pointed out that the Burnet County Jail has had a number of cases.

The jail received 121 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine July 13 for inmates, Burnet County Judge James Oakley told county commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday.

In Llano County, the state recorded 31 new cases in the previous 30 days based on July 7 data.

Franklin reported a “few folks” who have been vaccinated becoming infected, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Madrigal noted she’s seen a handful of vaccinated people contract the virus, but, to her knowledge, none of those people required hospitalization.

All three of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the United States for emergency use are highly effective in protecting a person against contracting the virus or suffering from serious health complications, according to state and federal health officials. In breakthrough cases, in which vaccinated people do contract the virus, only a small percentage have gotten seriously ill or been hospitalized. 

Vaccination remains the best prevention, health officials said, along with washing hands frequently, cleaning surfaces, social distancing, and wearing a face covering when needed or when necessary. 

To find a vaccination site, visit the DSHS vaccine finder webpage or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine finder website. Vaccinations are free.

daniel@thepicayune.com