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Putnam Records First Covid Deaths in Three Months

The DHHR reported Monday, August 9, that two Putnam residents died from COVID infection in the most recent 7-day period. The two deaths are the first coronavirus deaths to be reported in the county since May 17. The deceased were females, ages 64 and 90. The DHHR did not disclose the vaccination status of the two individuals.

While vaccination is not 100% effective in preventing Covid infections, it is 100% effective in reducing the severity of the disease. Nearly 60% of the eligible (12 years and older) of the county’s population have been vaccinated for the virus. While Putnam’s vaccination rate is high (only five counties have a higher rate), the active Covid cases have increased 400% in the last 30 days. The DHHR only reports statewide hospitalization numbers. Hospitalizations throughout the state have rocketed from 19 on June 30 to 101 on August 9, a 432% increase.

The vaccination rate in Putnam among the most vulnerable, the 65 years and older group, is 89.8%. The vaccination rate for the 12-18 year old population is 32.8%. The severity of the virus is reduced for children under 12 and vaccinations are not recommended.

The much advertised Delta variant first showed up in Putnam on July 29 when the DHHR reported 3 cases. The DHHR does not routinely test for Covid variants. There were 76 new cases of the corona virus in the 7-day period ending on August 6. The DHHR reported new four variant test results during that period. To date, only 24 variant tests have been conducted on Putnam residents. Twenty tested positive for the Alpha (United Kingdom) variant and four for Delta (India) variant.

Many individuals have chosen not to be vaccinated. DHHR data reveals that 97 residents per day chose to be vaccinated between May 12 and July 1. Between July 1 and August 10, the daily average was only 28.

Putnam’s percentage vaccination is above the state average but it is not high enough to prevent a September surge when the daylight hours rapidly shorten. The surge in new case numbers is expected to increase in the weeks following the start of the school year on August 24.

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