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Waco leaders encourage residents to get vaccinated, community members share COVID-19 survival stories

“I did not receive the vaccine because I was cavalier, and I was wrong," said Reverend Danny Reeves of First Baptist Corsicana.

WACO, Texas — In the Waco-McLennan County area the daily infection rate in the past 14 days increased 233%.

That is why city leaders are urging residents to get vaccinated.

“I did not receive the vaccine because I was cavalier, and I was wrong," said Reverend Danny Reeves of First Baptist Corsicana.

At a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Reeves was asked to share his story to help to encourage others to get vaccinated.

"Ten days into my quarantine I realized I was not winning the battle, COVID was,” said Reeves. “I told my family that I needed to go to the hospital."

Karen Hicks is a Waco ISD teacher. She is also a COVID-19 survivor and had to fight for her life.

"You can be diabetic, have high blood pressure, or you can be perfectly healthy. I want to encourage you to go get the vaccine," said Hicks.

McLennan County health officials said over the past two weeks they have seen a 280% increase in the average number of people admitted into hospitals for COVID-19. The number of fatalities reported in July was 125% higher than the month of June. Doctors said they are seeing more young people get infected with the virus.

“This thing spreads like crazy, please get out the house and get your COVID vaccine," said Dr. Jackson Griggs, chief executive officer of the Family Health Center in Waco.

On Wednesday, Waco-McLennan County Public Health District Director LaShonda Malrey-Horne released recent health district data updates in the county. Here are the updates:

  • In the past 14 days, we have seen a 233% increase in the daily average of COVID-19 cases, and a 280% increase in the average number of people admitted in the hospital with a COVID-19 positive test. The number of fatalities reported in the month of July were 125% higher than those reported in the month of June.
  • Since April 2021 (when all adults were eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine), 34% of deaths are among people age 30 to 64 compared to 19% in the past year.
  • Currently we have 104 people hospitalized in McLennan County with COVID-19 infection. The number of hospitalizations among people younger than 20 years old, has increased by 300%.
  • 475 McLennan County residents have lost their life to COVID-19.
  • The increase of COVID-19 cases in the community can be linked to the highly contagious Delta variant. There have been 23 cases of the Delta variant reported in McLennan County. 50% of cases reported in Texas can be attributed to the Delta variant and the same is true for McLennan County. Our best defense against the variant are vaccines. All 3 are highly effective against severe illness including hospitalization and death
  • All McLennan County community members are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Vaccines are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., at the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District located at 225 West Waco Drive.
  • Walk-ins are welcomed and no appointment is needed.
  • The Health District will continue to host vaccine clinics across the county, to make sure every person in our community has access to vaccine.
  • We have begun to see a slight increase in the number of vaccinations administered in the last 14 days, but that number does not match the fast increase in COVID-19 activity in the community.
  • As of Wednesday, only 42% of people in McLennan County, 12-years-old and older, have been fully vaccinated. There are still 68% people living in the county unvaccinated and at risk of becoming very sick, hospitalized, or dying of COVID-19 infection.
  • Information about COVID-19 for McLennan County can be found at covidwaco.com. Also make sure you follow the Health District on Instagram, @wacohealthdistrict, and on Facebook at Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

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