Things are moving in the right direction!
The number of daily new cases of COVID-19 in our county, region, state, and nation is on the decline. Hancock County moved from “red” status back to “orange” this week and could drop to “yellow” in a few weeks. Volumes of patients seeking testing in our immediate care locations and physician offices are on the decline, as is the percentage of those individuals testing positive. The number of COVID positive patients admitted to the hospital is reliably in the low teens (just 11 this morning). We have provided 500 patients with monoclonal antibody infusion therapy, helping those individuals avoid hospitalization. Nearly 1,500 people have received their second vaccine dose and 4,000 more have received their first!
As we noted last week, the magic number for Hancock County to reach herd immunity is 56,000. We know that nearly 7,000 have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. We believe there is at least an equal number that was positive but never tested, for another 7,000. We also know more than 1,500 individuals in our county have been fully vaccinated. This brings to 15,000 the number that likely has some level of immunity. Beginning on February 22nd, the vaccination center at Hancock Regional Hospital will increase its capacity to more than 4,000 doses per week (currently 1,500), which means 2,000 additional people per week will gain immunity. Our goal is to achieve herd immunity in our county by the end of summer (August 31st) and we are on track to do this!
The key to ending the race strong is to limit further transmission of the virus by focusing on the three W’s: Washing our hands, Wearing our masks, and Watching our distance. In addition, we must be Willing to get the vaccine. It is a choice each of us makes for ourselves and our families based on our own thoughtful investigation of the information available to us. As we do our own research, common questions arise. Does the vaccine work? Is it safe? What about side effect? Does it affect fertility? How long does immunity last? What if I already had the disease? We encourage you to look at the resources on our website to help answer these questions (https://coronavirus.hancockregionalhospital.org/). We have also created short videos on many of these subjects, and they can be accessed by clicking the following link: https://vimeo.com/user/72210693/folder/3438609?fbclid=IwAR2TWb4b96aVUISVld-8rTQAJw-t6DLqM23oYIwyJC5OMIRLBfIWkxA4fxU
We are not out of the woods yet, but we can see the clearing through the trees and the dark woods are fading behind us. Given this positive movement, we have decided to close the physical location of our COVID-19 Incident Command and move back to a virtual model via admin-on-call effective this evening (a very good sign!)
Thank you all for your extraordinary efforts so far, you are amazing!