As of January 9, Yuma County, Arizona’s seven-day average of new COVID cases was 212 per day, more than three times as high as the average 14 days earlier.
U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) Commander Col. Patrick McFall elevated the post’s Health Protection Condition to Bravo Plus on January 6.
“The change to Bravo Plus will not impact services that our great MWR team provides for us-- facilities like restaurants and the post gym will still be open for business,” said McFall in an all-hands email. “However, every individual is expected to follow COVID mitigation policies while on this post. If you are indoors at a workplace or public facility on post, you are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing at all times.”
In Yuma County, 65% of the total population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 75% of the population over the age of 12. Nearly 80% of the local population has received at least one dose of vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is substantially more contagious than any previous variant of the virus. However, recent hospitalization rates in this and other countries suggests that widespread vaccination has blunted Omicron’s impact: according to the Yuma County Public Health Services District, the number of new hospitalizations of COVID patients locally has increased, but at a far lower rate than the number of new cases.
Being vaccinated against COVID is still the best protection available against suffering a serious case of COVID-19. As of January 9, the Yuma County Public Health Services District reports that 64 of the 82 hospitalized COVID patients in Yuma County—78%-- were unvaccinated. The vaccines cannot cause COVID-19, and there is substantial evidence that they prevent COVID infection. Additionally, instances of so-called ‘breakthrough’ infections in individuals who have received the vaccine tend to be less severe than what is experienced by those who are not vaccinated. The reported side effects of the vaccine are mild in the overwhelming number of people who have received them, and according to medical personnel are 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 is recognizing it and reacting,” said Maj. Ashley Aiton, Officer in Charge of YPG’s Health Clinic. “Every vaccine will have some mild reactions to it.”
Vaccines are available at the YPG Health Clinic, the Yuma County Public Health Services District, and multiple private sector pharmacies. The phone number for the YPG Health Clinic is (928) 328-2666. The phone number for the Yuma County Public Health Services District is (928) 317-4550.
“I'm proud that the YPG Family's dedication to following COVID-19 mitigation efforts has ensured that our mission has continued uninterrupted,” said McFall. “The work that we do here is vital to our national defense, and every member of the YPG Family is valuable and necessary to achieve our mission. People- Service Members, DA Civilians, Contractors, Families, and Veterans- are our most important asset: I don't want to lose a single one to COVID-19.”