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'Pandemic of the unvaccinated:' warning goes out as COVID-19 cases rise in other states

"We can prevent this from happening in Pa. if we do the right thing," one doctor said, as other states see spike in COVID-19 cases due to contagious variants.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Doctors are urging unvaccinated people to get a vaccine as highly contagious variants, such as the Delta variant, are sending COVID-19 case numbers soaring across multiple states in the nation.

"It's definitely looking like this is becoming the pandemic of the unvaccinated as we look at this," said Dr. Mark Goedecker of WellSpan Health, "most, if not all, of the admissions that we are seeing at our hospital, WellSpan's Hospitals, are unvaccinated."

Dr. Goedecker acknowledged some states have also seen what is referred to as "breakthrough" cases -- cases in which a vaccinated person tests positive for COVID-19. 

However, he stressed the vaccines are highly effective and the best weapon against the dangerous variants.

"Those people that receive the shot are very well protected," he said. "You might get COVID. There is that chance. But, you are not going to get hospitalized with it. You're not going to end up on a ventilator and you're not going to die from this. And, those are things that we really want to prevent." 

RELATED: 'Pandemic of the unvaccinated' burdens busy US hospitals

Currently there are 4 variants that the Centers for Disease Control lists as "notable." Those variants are: alpha, beta, gamma, and the most concerning currently, delta. 

Pennsylvania at this time is not listed among the states with the most COVID-19 cases.

See this map from the CDC to track the states with the highest COVID-19 cases

Learn about the different variants

"Right now in Pennsylvania it is calm and this is the opportunity to keep it that way," said Dr. Goedecker, "...we can prevent this from happening again Pennsylvania if we do the right thing."

FOX43 asked the PA Dept of Health if it could provide numbers on how many unvaccinated vs vaccinated people account for new cases and hospitalizations in the state. 

PA Dept of Health deputy press secretary Maggi Barton wrote, "this is not an analysis we have performed; however, we do not have any indication that Pennsylvania would differ significantly from this national trend that the majority of deaths and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals given the effectiveness of the vaccine and our continued efforts to vaccinate residents."

Read the latest COVID-19 numbers in Pennsylvania in this release from the PA Dept of Health:

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed that as of 12:00 a.m., Friday, July 16, there were 415 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,215,767.

There are 247 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 50 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. More data is available here.

The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients continues to drop. The full 14-day moving average since the start of the pandemic can be found here.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of July 2 – July 8 stood at 1.2%.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

As of 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 15, there were 4 new deaths identified by the Pennsylvania death registry, reported for a total of 27,786 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Vaccine highlights

Federal data representing all 67 counties:

  • According to the CDC, as of Thursday, July 15, Pennsylvania ranks 5th among all 50 states for total doses administered.
  • According to the CDC, as of Thursday, July 15, 61.5% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

Statewide data representing the 66 counties within the Department of Health’s vaccine jurisdiction:

  • Pennsylvania’s vaccine dashboard was updated on Friday, July 9 to more accurately reflect the number of people who are partially and fully vaccinated in each county outside of Philadelphia, along with demographics of those receiving vaccine. For state-to-state comparisons, refer to the CDC vaccine data tracker.
  • Vaccine providers have administered 11,388,549 total vaccine doses as of Friday, July 16.
  • 5,592,034 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of more than 12,100 people per day receiving vaccinations.

The department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule and regulations, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance. For the protection of themselves and others, individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or are partially vaccinated, are still encouraged to wear a mask when in public.

There are 164,094 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 639 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure. 

There are 4,837,348 individuals who have tested negative to date.

In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there have been a total of 72,111 resident cases of COVID-19 to date, and 15,586 cases among employees, for a total of 87,697 at 1,599 distinct facilities in all 67 counties. Out of total deaths reported to PA-NEDSS, 13,372 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. Note that the number of deaths reported to NEDSS is not exactly the same as the COVID-19 related deaths reported by the death registry. The number of deaths among nursing and personal care home residents and employees is taken from the PA-NEDSS death data, as this information is not available in the death registry data.

Approximately 29,132 of total cases have been among health care workers.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, July 15:

The Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient to all Pennsylvanians: 

  • All Pennsylvanians age 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
  • A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
  • Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
  • The Unite Against COVID Weekly Update is a round-up of news you can use and answers to your most pressing vaccine questions – delivered directly to your inbox every week.
  • Frequently asked questions can be found here.

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