FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - As Harris County raises its COVID-19 threat level, neighboring Fort Bend County leaders are urging its residents to take precautions.
Fort Bend County is also experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, however, the rates are not as dramatic as in other areas of greater Houston. County leaders point to the vaccinations rates.
Judge KP George says 96% of the county's residents ages 65 and older have gotten one dose and 88% are fully vaccinated. Of residents 12 and older, 74% have gotten one dose and 66% are fully vaccinated.
"Our community has benefited from a population willing to be vaccinated and provide protection for themselves and others. However, we’ve got to consider our neighbors and children for whom vaccinations are not an option," said Dr. Jacqueline Minter, Director, Fort Bend County Health and Human Services.
Minter encourages all residents to wear masks and socially distance the accelerating spread of the delta variant. She adds the delta variant accounts for 77% of all of the county's cases.
In Galveston County, Dr. Michael Nguyen, Assistant Professor, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, reports a three-fold increase in COVID-19 patients in the past two weeks.
"We’re seeing mostly patients that are hospitalized were unvaccinated and, so, that’s the majority of patients. It’s very difficult to accept that," Dr. Nguyen told FOX 26.
He also says the majority of his patients are between 30-and-50-years-old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the lowest vaccination rates are among young adults.
"Ironically, the younger ones are the ones that are being hit hardest right now. The ones that are on high flow oxygen and the ones that are decompensating and going down to the ICU," added Dr. Nguyen.
He says the main reason his patients report not getting the vaccine is concerns about side effects. He insists the vaccine's protection against COVID-19 far outweighs its possible side effects.
"Please, get your vaccine. There’s no reason not to get. The vaccines are safe," Dr. Nguyen urged.