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Local health officials deal with COVID case increase and vaccine transition

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HOSPITAL ON COVID SPIKE 6PKG

QUINCY (WGEM) -- The pausing of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine comes as COVID-19 cases are again going in the wrong direction.

Health officials say it's happening nationally, at the state level and even locally.

Nursing student Brandon Smith was once unsure about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but today he got his shot.

"I'm dealing with patients during clinicals, the last thing I would want to do is get somebody sick," Smith said.

Adams County Public Health Administrator Jerrod Welch said more people should be like Smith and get the shot.

"The vaccine opportunity is ultimately what's going to get us over the hump despite this little pause on the Johnson and Johnson," Welch said.

He said with only around 30% of Adams County residents vaccinated, there remains a very real threat locally.

"We still have active disease and we're seeing our disease numbers rise a little bit," he said.

Across town at Blessing Hospital, Chief Quality and Safety Officer, Dr. Mary Frances Barthel, said the numbers are proof.

Fewer people are hospitalized since the vaccine became available and no vaccinated people are in the hospital.

"Of the patients that are currently hospitalized for COVID, they have not received the COVID vaccine," Barthel said.

Welch said getting the vaccine is a way the county can get the upper hand in the fight against COVID.

"This vaccine is keeping people out of the hospital and so all of the hospitalizations we see really is from people who chose not to vaccinate," he said.

Health administrators said if you choose not to get the vaccine, wearing masks and social distancing are even more important than ever.

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Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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