Healthcare, Latest News, Monongalia County

Stay safe, Hospitals are pretty crowded right now

Now, more than ever, you don’t want to have a heart attack.

Or get into a car accident.

Or break your leg.

None of those incidents are fun in any circumstances. But getting treated for them now, with hospitals pushed to the limits because of COVID-19, probably wouldn’t be a smooth experience.

So like the saying goes, “Let’s be careful out there.”

We are 18 months into the pandemic, and in some ways, right now, it’s worse than ever, with scenarios we read about and saw in other areas now taking place in West Virginia.

Our lovely Mountain State, where COVID-19 acceleration is worse than just about anywhere else in the world.

Take it from the individuals who have the guts to jump 876 feet off the New River Gorge Bridge most Octobers but who decided that maybe, just maybe, because the event usually results in about 35 hospital runs, the event should be skipped in 2021.

Bridge Day is fun but so is being able to walk.

And breathe.

My cousin was having so much trouble doing that last week that at night, he feared he couldn’t do it on his own. In spite of being vaccinated, he caught COVID, as did his 10-year-old daughter, who, of course, is too young to have gotten inoculated yet.

I see people posting the “laughing” emoji when it’s revealed that a vaccinated person got COVID. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of how vaccines work. They are not perfect. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines happen to provide about 95% protection against the virus for a period of time that is still being evaluated.

That’s a great efficacy rate, and it’s clearly made a dent in the COVID numbers. You remember June, right?

But it’s not perfect, and now we’re seeing instances of vaccinated individuals getting COVID. And the caveat is that maybe, even if you feel like you are dying when you’re lying in your own bed at night, you’re not actually dying and you recover.

Imagine what it would be like to have COVID-19 without a vaccine.

So what do we do now? If you haven’t gotten a COVID vaccine yet, why not? We are finishing up the ninth month of administering COVID vaccines and by every medical measure, it’s been a great success. I know a lot of vaccinated people. None of them have grown tails. Or died.

But we’re worried with the way the Delta variant has plunged us back into a pandemic that many just thought had magically disappeared in the spring.

Also, wear a mask. Even if you’re outdoors and, maybe, sitting in a stadium full of 70,000 people watching a football game. Or walking to the stadium with a throng of people. Even if you are vaccinated. And especially if you’re not.

The cases are coming in and yes, many individuals believe they caught COVID at a football game.

You might say that we need to learn to live with the pandemic and the answer to that is that yes, we do. The quicker that people realize that vaccinations and masks are vital to getting out of this surge, the quicker we can get back to at least our new normal.

Need a vaccine? You can call Monongalia County Health Department at 304-598-5119 to make an appointment. We’ll also be at the WVU Rec Center from 1-3 p.m. on the next three Fridays: Oct. 1, 8 and 15. You can make an appointment online and if you fill out your insurance information in advance, everything will go more quickly. Please check out our Facebook and Twitter @WVMCHD for the link.

Email Mary Wade Burnside at