COVID trends downward; vaccines available

By Cyndi Sellers

Cameron Parish had recorded a total of 484 cases of COVID-19 by Jan. 27, with four confirmed deaths. Along with the rest of the state, the parish is in the highest risk category. The percent of positive tests varied from the first to the third week of January, from 25.9 down to 12, then up to 20 percent positive. The state goal is less than 5 percent positive tests, so there is a way to go, but the trend is somewhat encouraging.

Also encouraging is the availability of the Pfizer COVID vaccine at South Cameron Memorial Hospital. While the number of doses available is limited, vaccine is being administered to health care workers, first responders and people over 70 by appointment.

After weeks of low numbers, Louisiana saw a sharp increase in cases, hospitalizations, and patients on ventilators beginning in November. Hospitalizations and ventilator usage quadrupled in that time frame. The peak occurred in January, after the Christmas holidays saw a high volume of travel. The numbers have been decreasing for the past two weeks as the holiday surge ends. Overworked health care workers are hoping it continues to drop.

There is still plenty of COVID-19 in the community, and the new, more transmissible variant is making its way into the country, so residents are advised to keep wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing until a large portion of the population has been vaccinated.

Even those who have received the vaccine need to take precautions, since full effectiveness is not reached until after the second dose, and there is still a five percent chance of contracting the disease, though it would likely be milder.