We reached yet another milestone at Hancock Health yesterday – more than 10,000 people have received their second shot in the hospital vaccine clinic! When one adds the thousands of individuals who received their shot in several other locations (shout out to the Health Department for their exceptional work!), nearly 16,000 residents of Hancock County are fully immunized! According to the state vaccine dashboard, more than 24,000 additional county residents have received the first dose, the fifth highest percentage of a county’s population in the state of Indiana!
Our county is adding 350 people per day to the rolls of “fully vaccinated” or nearly 2,000 per week. This, in combination with opening access to the vaccine to all Hoosiers over age 16, makes our goal of achieving herd immunity in the county by the end of summer well within reach. In addition to great news on the vaccine front, we continue to see very low numbers of new COVID-19 infections in our county and it is becoming rare to have patients admitted to the hospital due to their infection, though we have experienced a slight uptick in the last few days.
Now for the bad news – global case counts and deaths are on their way back up as can be clearly seen in the charts below and available on the following website: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.
New cases in Brazil, Turkey, Poland, and the Philippines are at their highest level ever. Cases in India and Argentina are accelerating more rapidly than at any time in the course of the pandemic. In addition, the major variants of the virus growing in the rest of the world are now present in Indiana, and the UK variant has specifically been identified in Hancock County.
It is important to remember that the virus is not gone, and we are in a race against time to get the vaccine to as many people as possible and reach herd immunity before the virus mutates to the point that the limited treatments we have become ineffective. Until we hit that goal, we need to be patient and continue to practice the three “W’s” – Wear our mask, Wash our hands, and Watch our distance. Most importantly, we need to encourage our family, friends, and neighbors to get the vaccine as soon as they possibly can. Please know that Hancock Health is “all in” on getting the vaccine and we will be running a full page ad in tomorrow’s Greenfield Daily Reporter where more than 100 of our physicians and leaders lend their support to the initiative (final ad copy is attached to this message).
The end is so close we can almost touch it. I am confident that the people of Hancock County will make wise choices over the next few months and we will finish strong together!