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COVID: Worries that holiday will fuel case surge

More gatherings in close contact
Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 21:09:33-05

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — COVID stats are headed in a bad direction, just as we head into holidays that are a perfect opportunity for the virus to spread. Pima County’s Health Director is worried a fresh surge could stretch hospital resources.

Pima County Health director Doctor Theresa Cullen says with more than 400 Covid patients in local hospitals, the case count is the highest it’s been since early last February.

“Our ICU bed availability is 3% with 11 beds available, you know that can change in an hour 48% of our ventilators are in use by COVID patients.”

Doctor Cullen says more than 70 percent of Pima County adults are vaccinated, so unvaccinated people account for most of the patients. She says if you get an infection that breaks through your vaccine protection you can spread COVID but you’ll still be less likely to spread it.

“If you do get an infection, if you've been fully vaccinated and or boosted your vaccine, your viral load will be lower but you are still able to transmit the disease. We have answered this question a few times this week where people have felt that if they were vaccinated and they tested positive, they couldn't transmit the disease. Yes, you can transmit the disease.”

She says the familiar advice still applies: mask up indoors especially if you don’t know the vaccination status of people near you. Wash your hands often, and if you feel sick, stay home.