LOGAN — With COVID-19 cases increasing in Utah, mainly from the Delta variant, and also in the three northern Utah counties under the umbrella of the Bear River Health Department (BRHD), BRHD director Jordan Mathis issued a plea on Monday that hit on three points: strongly consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t already; wear a mask in indoor public places, even if fully vaccinated and stay home if you are sick.
On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, Mathis talked about why he issued the plea.
“That’s really what we’re facing right now is that there’s been these new variants, obviously the Delta variant that you made reference to that seems to be causing a little bit more issue. We all wish that the vaccination effort was the end of it, but we’re obviously seeing more cases. We’re also seeing some of those that in vaccinated individuals because no vaccine is perfect,” Mathis explained.
He said it’s important to get the vaccine because of a quarter of the population is too young to get the vaccine at this point.
“Yeah, it’s exactly 25 percent of our population in our three counties, it’s anyone that is 11 or younger, makes up 25 percent of our population that cannot be vaccinated. So part of the plea was for us to do everything we can over the next little while to continue to protect that population.”
The health director said he understands someone’s hesitancy because of the feeling that the vaccines were developed too quickly. After all, if you put something in your body, you want to make sure it is safe.
“Over 167 million individuals have been vaccinated in the U.S. and that is showing it’s a pretty safe vaccine. We haven’t seen a lot of issues with it, most of the issues that we have seen with it, and we’ve experienced those, are very acute issues where people have allergic reactions. They’re able to be treated very quickly and taken care of.”
It is also important to continue wearing face coverings while indoors in public places even if you have been fully vaccinated.
“We’re seeing more breakthroughs in our older population, and so working towards protecting that older population so that they don’t experience breakthroughs. They think their immune memory probably isn’t as robust as younger individuals, and so that’s part of the issue. And then we have that whole population that still can’t choose to be vaccinated right now.”
Mathis said the biggest way to protect both groups is to try and bring down the whole viral load of the community and the way to do that is not allow the virus to continue to replicate.
Data shows that wearing masks has some impact on that.