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As COVID numbers rise, health clinics are seeing increase in those wanting vaccination

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:48 AM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - As the fourth wave of coronavirus continues causing the number of cases to rise, doctors and clinics on the Coast are seeing more people wanting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Over the last week, Coastal Family Health has experienced a 20 percent increase in vaccination requests. Singing River Health System is seeing a similar trend.

“I would say (increase) is at least 15-20 percent. We’re getting the younger ones this time. Last time, it was the older patients. This time, we’re getting a lot of younger teenagers, children, and up,” said Jason Ely, the Director of Primary Care at Singing River Health System.

In the last seven days, Singing River’s clinics are averaging 280 COVID-19 tests per day. Of those tests, an average of 40 are testing positive each day. Those numbers have physicians and medical personnel pleading with everyone who is able to get vaccinated.

“It’s not like it’s just a viral illness and you get over it now,” explained Dr. Steve Demetropoulos. “People are really getting sick, and the only way we’re going to be able to keep folks out of the hospital and avoid people having serious complications is to get people vaccinated. Whether you’re a 22 year old or a 65 year old, we need you to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Demetropoulos, who is a physician for Singing River Health clinics, says there have been a small number of positive cases in people who have received the vaccine, but those cases have been less severe.

“These are people who would normally be the sickest patients and at risk for the most complications,” he explained. “That really makes me feel a lot more comfortable about the vaccine being able to protect us.”

Singing River Health System is also offering an infusion treatment to positive COVID-19 patients in order to help fight off the virus. Ely says the infusion treatment is now available to all adults.

“Anybody age 18 and up, if the provider feels like they need to get it, can have this infusion and that number alone has taken off this past week,” said Ely. “We actually had to open up a new infusion center because we couldn’t handle the volume of patients that were being positive.”

As of July 22, Singing River Health System has 38 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 16 are in ICU.

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