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Health officer: Washoe County COVID-19 transmission still high

By Bob Conrad

Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick today said having Thanksgiving celebrations with people who are unvaccinated puts people at risk for contracting COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still very unpredictable, and we don’t fully understand it. I am concerned that with the gatherings here over the Thanksgiving holiday with Christmas and New Year’s coming up that there is a potential for further spread,” Dick said.

Those over 50 with underlying health conditions are more at risk.

“You’ve heard me say over and over again [that there are] risks of unvaccinated people at gatherings and that can be quite risky at Thanksgiving,” Dick added. “So I hope that people that are having gatherings are having those conversations with family and friends.”

Numbers, however, are showing that COVID-19 transmissions are declining — a bit. The region is now in the high range for transmission, down from very high at the beginning of November.

More than 60% of the community 5 and older is vaccinated. The Health District reported that more than 615,000 doses of vaccinations have been administered.

Dick estimated that nearly two-thirds of vaccine doses given by the Health District over the past week were boosters.

There have been more than 5,300 breakthrough cases, or 2% of those fully vaccinated testing positive.

Dick said breakthrough cases, because of a lower viral load, are less severe, people recover quicker and likelihood of spreading COVID-19 is notably diminished.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “because vaccines are not 100% effective, as the number of people who are fully vaccinated goes up, the number of vaccine breakthrough infections will also increase. However, the risk of infection remains much higher for unvaccinated than vaccinated people.”

The CDC also noted those who get vaccinated protect those who cannot get vaccinated:

“The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated people. Therefore, everyone ages 5 years and older should get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them, including family members who are not able to be vaccinated from severe disease and death.”

Image: CDC

Dick echoed CDC recommendations.

“Between the vaccination and the masking…those are both very important approaches for protecting ourselves and decreasing the number of COVID-19 cases we have in the community,” he said.

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