OPINION

We're seeing a dramatic uptick in COVID-19 fueled by the Delta variant. Vaccinate yourself to protect others.

By Rob Kenagy
Special to Gannett Kansas
Rob Kenagy

Kansas is facing a new surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The highly contagious and transmissible Delta variant of the virus is now the dominant strain in our state.

At highest risk are people who are not vaccinated for COVID-19.

For those hesitant to get the vaccine, please hear the wake-up call occurring one state over. In Springfield, Missouri, COVID-19 infections are skyrocketing as hospitals struggle to provide care because of staffing and ventilator supply shortages.

Missouri’s low vaccination rate — similar to rates in many Kansas counties — is fueling the Delta variant’s surge.

At Stormont Vail Health, we are experiencing increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, as well as a dramatic uptick in the percentage of positive tests conducted at our facilities in multiple counties. Both nationally and at Stormont Vail, the vast majority of people with COVID-19 hospitalization and with severe disease have been unvaccinated.

We need community members to step up and help. Protect yourself, your loved ones and others in the community. If you haven’t already, please get a COVID-19 vaccination. If you have been vaccinated, thank you. Please encourage those around you to consider getting the vaccine.

• Coaches, protect your team and your season by strongly encouraging your players to be become fully vaccinated.

• The new school year will be here very soon. Parents and teachers and students, do your part to protect the promise of a new year.

• This is a plea to businesses, restaurants and churches: Please do all you can to encourage your workforce, patrons and parishioners to protect the activities that define our community.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines are available at many locations, including the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy, 2252 S.W. 10th Ave. For more information, go to www.stormontvail.org/covid19/vaccine

None of us want to deal with another shutdown. The vaccine is our way forward out of the claws of this pandemic. Now is the time.

Take the vaccine, encourage others, we together.

Rob Kenagy is the president and chief executive officer of Stormont Vail Health.