On January 19, Yuma County, Arizona’s seven-day average of new COVID cases hit a record high.
Yuma County’s seven-day average of new COVID cases was 692 per day, tripling the average from two weeks earlier, which had been more than three times as high as the average 14 days before that.
Local hospitalizations for COVID also increased, though at a far less alarming level than the total number of new cases: Yuma Regional Medical Center reported 109 hospitalized COVID patients on January 19, up 33% from 10 days earlier.
YPG Commander Col. Patrick McFall elevated the post’s Health Protection Condition to Bravo Plus earlier in January, and urged continued vigilance from the workforce in an all-hands email sent on January 20. Citing the wide availability of COVID vaccines, the mandate to wear face coverings indoors while at work on post, and some of the workforce’s ability to telework where practical, McFall said YPG personnel have the means to protect themselves and their co-workers.
“The Army has invested an enormous amount of resources into giving each of us tools to mitigate the COVID threat,” he said. “Utilize these tools to stay safe. If you or a member of your household show signs of illness, stay home. Now more than ever, we need to stay focused on protecting our mission—the American people, most especially our men and women in uniform, expect no less from us.”
In Yuma County, over 65% of the total population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 75% of the population over the age of 12. More than 80% of the local population has received at least one dose of vaccine. Being vaccinated against COVID is still the best protection available against suffering a serious case of COVID-19. As of January 19, 78 of the 109 hospitalized COVID patients in Yuma County—72%-- were unvaccinated. 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.
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.
McFall sounded a hopeful note that the Omicron variant’s transmission would eventually subside, but stressed that extreme caution is vital at this time.
“The good news is that new COVID cases are starting to decline in the areas of the United States that experienced the Omicron variant first. I am optimistic that the same thing will eventually happen in our area, but we must weather the storm in the meantime.”
McFall noted that YPG has not had to cancel a single test during the pandemic, and safely hosted two iterations of Project Convergence despite doubts from some that it was possible. He called on the workforce to face COVID with the same determination and intelligence that was brought to bear on Project Convergence.
“I am honored to have served with you during these times, and don’t want to lose a single member of this team to any catastrophe, let alone to a virus for which we have so many tools to protect ourselves,” said McFall. “I trust each and every one of you will do the right thing, and continuously ask yourselves, ‘What are you doing to protect the YPG Family?’”