In the three-day period of July 19-21, Burnet County recorded a jump of 43 active COVID-19 cases, from 97 to 140.
“We’re seeing a big influx of COVID cases right now because people aren’t taking precautions,” said Dr. Jules Madrigal, the Burnet County local health authority. “The vast majority of the people getting the disease are not vaccinated. Vaccination is still the best way of protecting not just yourself but others from it.”
Across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and John Hopkins University are tracking an increase in positive and active COVID-19 cases. According to the CDC, the level of community transmission in Burnet and Llano counties for July 14-21 was “high.”
Health officials are pointing to the Delta variant, more transmissible than previous variants, as a major factor in the rise in cases.
Madrigal said the Delta variant is present in Texas, and people should be aware of how easily it spreads.
While it sounds like a broken record, getting vaccinated is the best way to curb the spread of the virus.
“You’re getting vaccinated to also help those around you like the elderly or the little ones (children 11 and under),” Madrigal said.
Two longterm healthcare facilities in Burnet County recently reported COVID-19 cases, which, according to Madrigal, was attributed to unvaccinated people entering the facilities. A local childcare facility this week also reported positive cases.
The CDC has noted an increase in the percentage of children showing more serious complications from COVID-19. As of now, only ages 12 and older can be vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine remains the only one with U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for ages 12-17.
The lack of a vaccine for younger children raises concerns as schools gear up for the 2021-22 academic year. While many children might not become as sick as adults from COVID-19, they can still contract the virus and transmit it to others, including those with compromised immune systems, even if the child does not exhibit symptoms.
Madrigal noted that some people who are fully vaccinated have gotten COVID-19, but they usually have a less severe case. Health officials said that fully vaccinated people who have died from the disease often had underlying medical conditions.
Madrigal also recommends unvaccinated people wear face coverings in public or when around others. Other preventative measures such as hand washing and social distancing remain critical in slowing the virus’ spread and protecting each other.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you should really be wearing a face mask,” Madrigal said. “But really, if you aren’t vaccinated and you can get vaccinated, you should. You’re doing it to protect other people.”
Visit the Texas Department of State Health Services vaccine webpage to find a vaccination site. The vaccine is free, and health insurance is not required.