The Morris County health department reports that approximately 49% of eligible Morris County residents, age 12 and above, have received the COVID 19 vaccination. At this time, children below the age of 12 are not eligible to receive the vaccine.
As predicted by health officials, the original COVID 19 strain has mutated and we are now preparing to face the widespread Delta variant of COVID 19. The Delta variant is at least 3 times more transmissible as the original COVID 19 strain. (For every person that is infected with the original COVID 19 strain, that person would infect approximately 2 other individuals. For every person that is infected with the Delta variant strain, that person would infect approximately 6 other individuals.) The Delta variant is also proving to infect and have much more negative effects on children and young adults as compared to the original strain.
Kansas City area hospitals (Children’s Mercy, KU Medical Center) and Topeka (Stormont Vail) hospitals are already reaching capacity to be able to accept incoming patients. This is very concerning to our local health care system, as a significant portion of our patient population needs transferred to higher levels of care. This should be concerning to all Morris County residents. Routine illnesses, routine surgeries, heart attacks, strokes, motor vehicle accidents, and traumatic injuries will not be able to be transferred for higher levels of care if our larger receiving hospitals are at full capacity.
With nearly half of our eligible Morris County population being unvaccinated and all Morris County children ages 12 and under unable to receive the vaccine, health officials cannot stress enough the importance of becoming vaccinated, wearing masks, and social distancing. The Delta variant infection rates are rapidly increasing, hospitals are reaching maximum capacity, school start dates are quickly approaching; we must be proactive or we will overwhelm our health systems and put our children and our communities at great risk.
This announcement is in no way intended to induce fear, rather it is to inform and educate our residents. We urge everyone to trust the recommendations given to us by our health care experts. Public health and safety is our number one concern and we do not want to see Morris County become subject to mandates or closures, or become an area of high infection rates, hospitalizations, or deaths. This would be detrimental to our local businesses, local economy, but most importantly it could be detrimental to our family, friends, and children.
Morris County Commissioners encourage everyone to become vaccinated if you are eligible, wear your masks while in public, and social distance.
David L. Fox