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We’re seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases. We must do all we can to protect ourselves, our families and our hospitals.

UPDATED: 01/25/2022

The Omicron variant is here, and COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate in Pierce County and around the state. 

Our hospitals and ICUs are near full. Even if a fraction of the latest cases end up in the hospital, it could overwhelm our already strained healthcare system. We must stay vigilant and continue to follow all the safe practices we’ve learned these past few years.

During my years as a hospital nurse, the winter holidays were traditionally a time of relative quiet. We didn’t schedule elective procedures. Healthcare teams worked hard to discharge patients, because nobody wanted to be hospitalized while their families were home celebrating. 

These past few weeks have been much different. 

Hospitals are extremely full, not only with patients suffering from COVID-19 but also those who delayed other care. Doctors and nurses also face the same challenges as the rest of us. Many healthcare providers are unable to care for patients because they are sick at home. We are seeing strain on our hospitals and the people who work in them.

Get vaccinated and boosted.

We’ve had COVID-19 vaccines in Pierce County for more than a year. We know they work.

We continue to learn how severe cases caused by the Omicron variant are different from previous variants. But the data is clear. If you get COVID-19 you have a much better chance of surviving and staying out of the hospital if you are vaccinated and boosted.

Recent data released by Department of Health paints a clear picture.

Unvaccinated 12-34-year-olds are:

  • 3 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 12-34-year-olds.
  • 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 12-34-year-olds.

Unvaccinated 35-64-year-olds are:

  • 4 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 35-64-year-olds.
  • 18 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated 35-64 -year-olds.

Unvaccinated people 65 and older are:

  • 7 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with people fully vaccinated 65 and older.
  • 13 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with people fully vaccinated 65 and older.
  • 15 times more likely to die of COVID-19 compared with people fully vaccinated 65 and older.

If you haven’t done so yet, find your dose at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture.

Know your symptoms.

If you get sick, you might not need to go to the hospital. But you need to know your symptoms and pay attention to your body. Many COVID-19 cases are mild enough you can recover at home. 

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include sore throat, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, or a new loss of taste or smell.  Keep track of how you’re feeling and monitor all your symptoms. 

If you have symptoms, call your doctor or healthcare provider. Be sure to mention any other medical conditions you have like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, lung disease, or kidney disease. 

How you can treat yourself.

If your symptoms are mild and your doctor recommends it, stay home instead of seeking treatment at a doctor’s office or medical facility. 

If you are able, stay away from others. If you can, stay in one room and reserve the closest bathroom for your own use. If you must share a bathroom, disinfect surfaces with sanitizer after use. Wear a mask and ask others in your household to do the same, especially when they are in the room with you.

You should also: 

  • Get plenty of rest. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid alcohol.  
  • Under the guidance of your medical provider, use over-the-counter medications to treat symptoms.
  • Protect your pets. Keep them away from your sick room. 

Along with your family, continue to monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if you show any of these emergency warning signs: 

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Constant pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion.
  • Inability to wake or stay awake.
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored lips, skin or nail beds.

Call 911 or go to your local emergency department immediately if any of these serious symptoms occur. Notify the operator that you or your loved one has COVID-19 before leaving. 

Find your dose.

Vaccination is still your best defense against COVID-19, especially severe disease. Everyone 16 and older is eligible for a booster, and children 5 and older should start their two-dose series immediately.  

Find your COVID-19 vaccine today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

And you can do even more to help stop the spread.

You can always help build trust with reliable information. Subscribe to the Your Reliable Source blog for our latest news and info.

A woman draws COVID-19 vaccine from a vial.
  1. UPDATED: 01/25/2022