An epidemiologist for Prince William County, Virginia, gave a stern warning to the unvaccinated on Monday as the county continues to see an increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
"If you are unvaccinated, now is the time. Don’t wait anymore. We’re seeing the surge and you are playing with fire at this point," Sean Morris said.
In the past week, Prince William County has averaged more than 50 new cases of COVID-19 a day. Two people died in the last week. One victim was in their 20s, health officials reported.
Morris says the unvaccinated need to act now before the fall, when viruses take hold more easily.
"We’re going into a surge. You can look at the graphs and see that we're going into a surge. It's up to us to make sure that surge stays as low as possible," Morris said.
He underscored the benefits of getting the vaccine.
"It will give you a seven-fold reduction in the chance of getting COVID and 20-fold reduction in chance of dying or being hospitalized from it," he said.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
Morris says nearly all of the county's current COVID-19 cases are from the delta variant. About 20% of those cases are vaccinated residents, but they did not have to be hospitalized.
"I advise everyone: go get your shots!" Prince William County resident Eunice Rivera said while proudly showing News4 her COVID-19 vaccination card.
Rivera said she was hesitant for a long time to get the vaccine and waited until July 10 to get her first shot.
"It was just the fright of having to, you know - the side effects that everybody was talking about," she said.
Two things changed her mind.
"One, my husband was fussing at me, and because of the new delta variant," she said.
Rivera said she and her husband are now trying to convince her adult daughter to get the vaccine.
"'Plan your vaccine' That's what my husband texts my daughter," she said.
Prince William County heath officials are urging young people to get vaccinated and will hold two back-to-school vaccination clinics this week. One clinic is on Wednesday at Manassas Mall and the other is on Friday at Potomac Middle School in Dumfries. The health department will also offer other immunizations at the clinics.