DVIDS – News – New COVID cases in Yuma County continue to decline

On September 21, the seven-day average of new COVID cases in Yuma County, Arizona, 40 per day, was less than half the average less than three weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, aggressive new Anti-COVID Standard Operating Instructions (SOPs) have been introduced.

The Department of the Army announced that active duty units should be fully vaccinated by December 15 and National Guard units by June 30, 2022.

Fully vaccinated means that two weeks have passed since the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or after a dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Additionally, civilians and Department of Defense (DOD) contractors will eventually be hired to either be fully vaccinated or routinely tested for COVID-19 infection in order to maintain their access to DOD facilities for official business. Civilians and contractors who refuse both vaccinations and recurring COVID-19 screenings will be denied access to DOD posts, according to a Sept. 7 memo signed by the Secretary of State for Defense.

Senior YPG executives emphasized that the Department of the Army is still developing an implementation plan in line with DOD guidelines.

“The Department of the Army has issued an order to vaccinate military personnel,” said Col. Patrick McFall, YPG commander. “We are still in the process of digesting this order, with more to come.”

“Nothing will be introduced until we have a hard left and right line on what to do and how to go about it,” added YPG Command Sgt. Major Herbert Gill.

According to the memo, the mandate does not apply to so-called “ad hoc access” to DOD facilities, be it by an unconnected van driver or for guests of facilities of public use such as the police station or the postal museum.

“No proof of vaccination is required at these locations,” said Ron James, YPG Garrison manager. “But I don’t want to confuse that with the mask policy: We will continue to have a mask policy in public institutions.”

Likewise, family members who live on posts do not need to provide proof of vaccination in order to gain access to their homes.

In Yuma County, 66% of the population 12 years and older – the age groups currently eligible for vaccination – are fully vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the delta variant of COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the original variant that hit the world last year and can cause more severe illnesses in those who have not received the vaccine.

“If you get sick and expose an entire section to COVID-19, that entire section could be canceled and we may not be able to complete our test mission,” said Larry Bracamonte, YPG’s technical director. “I think everyone did an excellent job following the SOPs and ensuring safety, as we haven’t had to cancel a test due to a COVID infection to date. However, we have to be careful because that could possibly happen in the future. “

“This is about protecting the force and protecting one another,” added Gill. “The reason we have safety measures and SOPs is because we either saw the potential to injure or kill ourselves, or it actually happened. The COVID vaccine is an SOP that is being put in place to protect us and save us from something worse than the side effects of the vaccine, if you have any. “

The vaccines cannot cause COVID-19, and there is solid evidence that they prevent COVID infection. In addition, cases of so-called “breakthrough infections” in people who have received the vaccine are usually less severe than those who have not been vaccinated. The reported side effects of the vaccine are mild among the overwhelming number of people who have received it and, according to medical staff, a positive sign that it is working as intended.

“You want to have a mild reaction to the vaccine – that shows that your immune system recognizes it and reacts,” said Maj. Ashley Aiton, officer in charge of the YPG health clinic. “Any vaccine will have some mild reactions to it.”

As of September 22, 30 of the 33 hospitalized COVID patients in Yuma County – 91% – were unvaccinated. Doctors note that the recent surge in local COVID cases resulted in significantly fewer hospitalizations than during the peak in December last year, suggesting widespread vaccination is working. The total number of cases was also far less dramatic than in the days leading up to the vaccines: Yuma County’s worst seven-day average was 95 new COVID cases per day in late August, compared to the average of 537 per day in mid-December was registered in 2020.

The ongoing misinformation on social media complicates the final push to eradicate the pandemic. YPG executives urged members of the YPG family to obtain their information from trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and other links found at https://www.yuma.army.mil/corona.html are.

“The information that many people form opinions about doesn’t necessarily have to be information from a credible source,” said Gill. “It’s almost like people accidentally launch a disinformation campaign about themselves.”

“I would recommend not using TikTok or Facebook as a reference source, but using good medical articles, good research articles with a broad study base, not just 100 people,” added Aiton. “Also, check out who is sponsoring the item.”

Recording date: 09/22/2021
Release Date: 09/22/2021 6:37 PM
Story ID: 405736
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