Friday, September 24th, 2021

Pflieger asks that businesses be vigilant

Posted: Friday, July 23, 2021

The Chamber of Commerce received an email from Dr. Matt Pflieger, Huntington County Health Officer, on Thursday, wanting us to share ways to keep our economy and local business community open. Pflieger said no one wants to see Huntington County go back to where we were a few months ago, and we do not want to see businesses slow down or events no longer happening.

Huntington County has worked way too hard to get where we are today, and we want to make sure the variant passes and we can keep the economy open. Just this week, Huntington County has been moved back to the yellow category from the blue category. The blue category shows minimal community spread, and current activities may continue. Yellow indicates, moderate community spread. Local officials should be made aware of the increased community spread and consider additional actions.

Pflieger shared some information with the Chamber and asked that we help share the message with the local business community.

Written by Dr. Matt Pflieger

Our positivity rate for COVID and the amount of people presenting to get tested is increasing over the last week. Our positivity rate today was 8% and we are back into the yellow category. While we have not seen an increase in hospitalizations or deaths, this metric can often lag behind the positivity rate by one to two weeks.

Our vaccination rate is over 47%. We are seeing a lower vaccination rate right now as it has been summer, lower case rates and less urgency to get vaccinated. The Health Department has completed some vaccination clinics at factories and is working with other businesses for future events. We have a mobile vaccination unit planned for Rolling into Roanoke and the 4-H Fair. The Health Department will also staff a booth at the 4-H fair to answer any questions.

The Delta variant is now the predominant variant in Indiana and our community. This variant is of concern because you are more likely to spread it to more people than previous variants. The vaccines have shown effectiveness against the Delta variant for preventing severe disease. People will ask me which one they should get and the answer is all the vaccines are safer than the disease. They should just get one. We now have over a year of vaccination (including trials) and over 300 million people vaccinated. That is more than sufficient to know the long-term issues with these vaccines.

Positive cases are coming from large gatherings and prolonged exposure in small areas. We must communicate and work with our business community on this issue. Our ultimate goal is a healthy community. That is one where workers are healthy and business is thriving. One where we have maximized participation in school. A community that is focused on doing all the things necessary to prevent widespread disease and going back to where we were last year.

This means we need to reconsider our office/business protocols for distancing and plans for quarantining if necessary. We need to not have people go to work or school sick. We need to continue to utilize free testing at the COVID test site in Huntington https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov. We need to follow the CDC guidelines on isolation if COVID positive. We should utilize Taberly Hart, Public Health Nurse at (260) 358-4831, for any questions around work environments and events.

The biggest communication we can do with people is that this is not over and we all have a part to play in keeping our community thriving.

Frequently asked questions about vaccines:

They were made to fast. The trials were done exactly like any other vaccine trial. They were done faster because we are in a pandemic and you can test the effectiveness quicker when more people are exposed to the virus.

There is not enough long-term data. You will see the side effects from a vaccine in the first three months or three million people. We are over a year in and 300 million people; the vaccine is only in your body for about two days. It primes your immune system and then is gone. The risk of the vaccine is lower than the risk of COVID no matter what your age is.

It will alter your DNA. The mRNA is in your body already in thousands of different ways. This vaccine has no way of getting into the cell center nor being able to get input into the DNA. There is no mechanism for that.

Why get it, I am young, COVID won’t affect me, it is not worth it. You could end up with long-term symptoms from the virus even if never hospitalized. The risk of the vaccine to yourself is lower than the benefit to the community.