Update on COVID-19 for VUMC workforce: what you need to knowJul. 19, 2021, 12:41 PM
COVID-19 is still very much part of our daily lives, and infection rates are on the increase in the community. VUMC continues to effectively manage COVID-19, and outpatient and inpatient volumes are back to pre-COVID levels.
All VUMC experts agree it is still too early to let our guard down, especially with the continued introduction of COVID-19 variants. Here are a few important things you should know about the current state of COVID-19.
- The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is spreading, with cases in Tennessee increasing. Case and hospitalization rates are also increasing across the country, with a very high majority of infections (especially the severe cases) occurring in unvaccinated persons.
- Rates of vaccination in counties like Davidson and Williamson are on average around 50% and higher, but more rural communities in the state are lower than 35%. These vaccination rates need to be in the 70%-plus range to control further spread of the virus.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective (even against the delta variant) with very low rates of adverse events.
- Even if someone has had COVID-19, they need to be fully vaccinated. Recent studies have shown that after natural infection or after incomplete vaccination (receiving only 1 of 2 doses of an mRNA vaccine), persons do not develop a protective level of antibodies against the delta variant. Only those who were fully vaccinated developed protective levels of antibodies to ward off the delta variant.
- While recent news has focused on booster shot necessity, it is still too early to know if a booster shot will be needed or not. Currently utilized vaccines are still highly protective against the delta variant, especially against severe infections.
- As the rates increase, it is still essential that we all follow the core infection prevention safety practices including wearing masks (over nose and mouth) in clinical areas for everyone and in non-clincial areas for those who are not fully vaccinated, distancing where appropriate, staying home if feeling ill (and getting tested for COVID-19 infection), and working from home if your job allows are still an important for limiting the spread of COVID-19.
It remains as important as ever that you and your loved ones need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It not only protects you from serious illness and death but also is the path to eventually stop the introduction and spread of COVID-19 variants.