COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an increasing rate in Christian County, according to the Christian County Health Department in its weekly report.

According to CCHD, the total cases for the county have moved to 8,451 as of Friday. The county has seen an increase of cases by 344 since last week, on Aug. 19. The previous week saw an increase of 301 between Aug. 12 and 19.

Of the 8,451 total cases, 521 of them are currently active cases, dropping from 609 since last week. Meanwhile, 7,828 cases have recovered from the virus.

Within the currently active cases, 178 are people aged zero to 21, 288 are between 22 and 59 and 51 are 60 to 84. There are only four active cases for ages 85 and older. Same as the previous week, the total number of deaths still sits at 102.

Also of the 344 new cases this week, 13, or 3.7%, are considered breakthrough cases. Breakthrough cases mean that individuals who have been vaccinated have tested positive for the coronavirus. Last week breakthrough cases consisted of 10% of active cases.

The demographic breakdown of the new cases contracted this week is as follows: 107, or 31%, are pediatric cases, while 217 (63%) of the new cases are caucasians, 80 (23%) are African American, 8 (2%) are other and 39 (11%) are unknown.

CCHD took to Facebook this week to offer updates as well as clarifications regarding booster shots and third-dose vaccine shots.

This week, CCHD began administering third doses of the Moderna vaccine, specifically those with immunocompromised conditions.

CCHD clarified that the third dose Moderna shot is not a booster shot.

The third dose is to give people who have a compromised immune system extra protection and antibodies they need to get on the same level as people who aren’t immunocompromised, the health department said. The third dose is the same composition as the first two doses, CCHD added.

The department recommends that individuals who are in need of a third dose, to receive the same third dose as the first two. For example, if you received the Moderna vaccine, CCHD recommends getting the Moderna third dose. If you took Pfizer, they recommend getting the third Pfizer shot.

The third dose of the Moderna vaccine is currently available to this with the following immunocompromised conditions:

Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies

Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy

Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell trans plant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)

Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes)

Advanced or untreated HIV infection

Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

CCHD added that the booster shot is not yet available in Christian County. The department also clarified that the booster shot is needed because the effectiveness of the first two doses, for either Moderna or Pfizer, diminishes over time.

The booster shot gives individuals an extra boost to particularly help people with what the department calls “waning immunity” and is recommended for everyone eight months after receiving their second vaccine dose.

As previously reported by the New Era, CCHD believes the majority of the new cases are due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

CCHD recommends that everyone follow the COVID safety precautions that were implemented previously when the county was in red.

Those include frequent hand washing, avoiding large social gatherings, especially among people who have not been vaccinated and wear a mask for additional protection, especially indoors, Sweeney-Brunt said.

CCHD also continues to encourage those who have not been vaccinated, to get vaccinated.

The health department says the vaccine helps prevent individuals from getting the virus, but that does not mean there is no possibility of contracting the virus. CCHD said it also helps with the severity of COVID’s symptoms.

CCHD is offering free vaccinations at the health department each week every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are not necessary, but you can call CCHD to schedule an appointment at 270-887-4160 or make an appointment online.

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