A Note from Father Bob

COVID-19 cases are rising once again across the U.S. The CDC now recommends that everyone wear face masks in areas of substantial and high transmission —
regardless of whether you’re vaccinated or not. This includes most of Northeast Ohio, and all counties in Florida. 
With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, we hoped that life would soon return to normal.
Unfortunately, it’s not time to let down our guard just yet. The delta variant is particularly concerning as it’s far more transmissible than previous variants of COVID-19.
It’s normal for viruses to mutate, especially coronaviruses and influenza viruses. Most of the time, the changes (mutations) in a virus are so small they don’t make a significant difference in how it spreads. Sometimes though, a mutation helps a virus infect people more easily.

For perspective, a person infected with the original COVID-19 strain might infect about two other people. But if you’re infected with the delta variant, you could infect as many as eight people.
There’s also been a lot of media around breakthrough cases. A breakthrough infection is when a person is infected with COVID-19 more than two weeks after they are fully vaccinated. While the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness, no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection. Breakthrough cases are expected. With delta, we’re seeing more breakthrough cases than we have with previous variants. Breakthrough infections are more common in indoor settings with large groups of people, the elderly and in individuals with compromised immune systems.

Please get vaccinated, if you haven’t.
The vaccines work. They reduce your risk of severe disease and death by 10 times —
even with the delta variant. Getting fully vaccinated is still your best chance to avoid being hospitalized with a COVID-19 infection. We strongly encourage you to schedule vaccines for those eligible in your household if they’re unvaccinated.
At more than 20 sites throughout Northeast Ohio, those who are 12 years and older can get the vaccine at their scheduled primary care appointments with our family medicine,
internal medicine and general pediatrics providers.
Additionally, you can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at one of our dedicated vaccine clinic locations through MyChart or by calling 216.448.4117.
If you’re in Florida, you can schedule on MyChart, or visit our Florida vaccination site for more information about scheduling and locations near you.

Layers of safety
Given the spread of the delta variant, including mild breakthrough cases,
it’s time to start adding back the extra layers of protection that helped to slow the pandemic before. Regardless of your vaccination status:
Wear a face mask.
Wash your hands.
Stay 6 feet apart in public spaces.
Stay home when you’re sick.