COVID numbers see a drop this week

Published 12:52 am Saturday, September 18, 2021

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From staff reports

While the total number of cumulative COVID cases in Orange County rose by 512 since last week, the number of active cases dropped by 379. New cases came in at 513 with 98 of those confirmed and 415 probable cases. The number hospitalized also dropped by eight to a total of 68 this week.

The highest number of cases reported last week were among the following three age groups:
41-50 years old (85 cases)
31-40 years old (80 cases)
0-10 years old (76 cases)
Of the 68 cases currently being hospitalized:
5 were fully vaccinated
4 partially vaccinated
59 were not vaccinated
17 on ventilator

The vaccination rate in Orange County is currently at 33.63%.

A third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine significantly increased neutralizing antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Pfizer, BioNTech and University of Texas Medical Branch scientists tracked the immune response of participants in clinical trials for the vaccine. They found that neutralizing antibody levels, the key protective immunity, dropped significantly over seven to nine months after the two-dose vaccination. This drop of neutralizing antibody levels correlates to the observation of breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals. After a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the neutralizing antibody levels increased many-fold higher than that after the second dose. More importantly, the third dose increased the antibody’s ability to inhibit variants more efficiently, including Beta and Delta variants.

“The safety and antibody response of a booster dose administered seven to nine months after the regular two-dose series suggests that a third dose could prolong protection and further increase the breadth of protection against variants,” said Pei-Yong Shi, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTMB, who is responsible for the neutralization study detailed in the publication.

Lamar State College Orange (LSCO) host one COVID-19 vaccine clinic per month for the remainder of 2021. Due to Tropical Storm Nicholas, the next one is scheduled for 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 21.

All clinics will be from 10:00 am – 11:00 am in the Student Center Gym and are free and open to the public.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be administered and Moderna booster shots will be available for those who qualify.

No pre-registration is required; just walk in to the LSCO Student Gym. Be sure to bring your vaccine card if you already have one and an insurance card if you have one, but insurance is not required.