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Doctor warning unvaccinated people after bout with Delta variant

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:42 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - COVID cases are on the rise in Lubbock County again. One month ago, Covenant Health had maybe one or two cases. On Tuesday, the hospital reported 22.

Dr. Jason Loos, a pathologist at Covenant Health, chose not to get vaccinated.

He and his family were doing fine until one of his children got sick during the last week of school.

The pathologist says he was the healthiest person he knew.

“I’ve never had fever more than a day and a half in my life. I’ve called in sick maybe once in 20 years,” he said.

That was, until he too caught the Delta variant, a much more contagious strain of COVID-19.

After 8 days of fever, he woke up unable to breathe and had to take his first-ever ambulance trip to the hospital.

That was in late May. He’s still feeling the effects now, unable to enjoy activities like before or to smell and taste.

“It took me about three weeks to get back to where I could walk up one flight of stairs. Even today, if you race me in a 100-yard dash, you’d have to pick me up and take me back to the ER,” he said.

Dr. Loos explains it was a combination of apathy and optimism for how well he would manage the virus if infected.

He tells KCBD that he also wanted to save the dose made available to healthcare workers for a more vulnerable person.

A decision he now regrets.

“I’ll always say it’s always a personal choice. But the right choice is to get vaccinated,” Loos said.

“This really is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We’re not seeing anyone who has been vaccinated requiring critical care,” Dr. Brian Schroeder said.

Schroeder is the chief medical officer of Covenant Health Medical Center.

He says they’re prepared for the rapid increase of severe cases. They have enough equipment and knowledge of the disease this time around.

But there is one thing that weighs heavy on his mind.

“I’m concerned though, about the physical, emotional wellbeing, spiritual wellbeing of our caregivers. It is a privilege to do what we do, it truly is,” he said. “It really is hard on a day after day basis to take care of people for such a prolonged period of time.”

Schroeder says it is a “distinct possibility” that the hospital system in Lubbock could be tested the way it was back in Fall 2020, if rates continue to increase as they have in the past month.

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