In the midst of a regional surge of COVID-19 cases, the Polk County Health Center has adjusted the way it will share information with the public.
According to community educator Carol Bookhout, PCHC began sharing daily updates to the center’s website — polkcountyhealthcenter.org — instead of social media starting Monday, July 19.
“Updates will occur daily, Monday through Friday, and reflect data as of 9 a.m. that morning,” Bookhout said.
Bookhout also shared information related to COVID-19 vaccinations in the community.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, July 16, 18,598 doses of vaccine had been administered in Polk County, she said.
Bookhout said 10,238 residents, or 32.49% of the county’s population, have received at least one dose, and 8,360 residents, or 27.92% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
Of those who’ve been vaccinated, 0.62%, or 52 Polk County residents, have experienced a breakthrough case of COVID-19, she said. A breakout case occurs when someone who’s been fully vaccinated contracts the virus.
In a social media post on Saturday, July 17, the health center addressed questions raised during discussions on other recent posts on its Facebook page.
“No demographic information is provided when we receive a positive result stating whether a person is vaccinated,” the post states. “This information must be gathered during the patient interview.”
PCHC does not have the staff in place to gather that information, the post states.
“This is something that is done sporadically throughout the week, hence the reports as we have time,” the post states. “The information that is requested takes time to gather. We are doing the best we can.”
The post states that until the recent spike in cases around five weeks ago, the health center did not have any reports of vaccinated individuals testing positive for COVID-19.
“When we saw a rise in cases, we also saw a rise in vaccinated individuals with COVID-19,” the post states. “This was also during the time the Delta variant began circulating. The vaccine is 88-89% effective against this variant.”
The post states most breakthrough cases “result from repeated close exposure, primarily in homes of unvaccinated individuals who have tested positive.”
“We do not attribute the current circulation of the virus to vaccinated individuals contracting and/or spreading the virus,” the post states.
In the post, the center states the purpose of the vaccine is to “reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths.”
“We have seen this hold true, even with breakthrough cases and the Delta variant taken into consideration,” the post states.
PCHC’s mission is to “protect our community’s health by offering prevention strategies for a better tomorrow,” the post states.
Prevention measures include vaccinating, masking, social distancing, hand washing and staying home if sick, per the post.