Liberty Co. health leaders focus on vaccines as COVID-19 spreads

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:19 PM EDT
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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Liberty County is seeing the highest rates of community transmission and the highest rates of COVID tests coming back positive in the Coastal Health District.

Remember, the community transmission index also known as, CTI, represents the number of cases per 100,000 people.

Chatham County is the most populated county and it’s CTI score is at 60.

Compare that to Liberty County’s number, which is more than double the second highest rate.

That’s in Bryan County where the CTI is 56.

WTOC spoke with a Hinesville doctor, who also serves on Liberty County’s Board of Health.

He says there’s still vaccine hesitancy from Liberty County residents and for different reasons. Whatever that reason may be, he says the numbers are concerning.

It’s a goal for Liberty County health leaders.

“We want everybody to get vaccinated so that we can achieve what we call herd immunity,” said Dr. Seth Borquaye, Liberty County Board of Health.

As well as residents.

“It’s important for us to get back to our normal lives, to whatever that extent is,” said Minhi Cass from Hinesville.

But county leaders say it’s a goal that’s difficult to reach if only 15 percent of residents are considered fully vaccinated, that’s according to Department of Health data.

A number that’s alarming to Hinesville resident Minhi Cass, who is fully vaccinated.

“I don’t know quite what is the story behind that, whether it’s people who are fearful of the vaccine itself, the side effects, anything like that. So yeah, it’s a little bit shocking,” said Cass.

Dr. Seth Borquaye, a county health board member, says that vaccine hesitancy is a big part.

He says different communities have different reasons for not getting the shot, including the spread of misinformation online.

The board of health is now reaching out to community faith leaders to help.

“By getting those churches and pastors to encourage their congregations to go get a shot.”

Liberty County Board of Health meets tomorrow, and Dr. Borquaye says they will be discussing the county’s recent numbers and find more ways to get shots in people arms.

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