Rumsey: Vaccination helps minimize effects of 'Delta Variant'

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska physician M. Cameron Rumsey said Friday he has observed that patients who have received vaccinations against COVID-19 have a much easier time recovering from the illness if they are infected by the so-called “Delta Variant.”

“The ones that are vaccinated are really handling it rather easily” Dr. Rumsey told the Journal-Capital. Unvaccinated patients may have more serious symptoms and even need hospitalization, he said.

Rumsey, who is chief of the medical staff at Pawhuska Hospital, also sees patients in a clinical setting, at Pawhuska Family Medical Clinic, located on the hospital campus. He has served on a COVID-19 task force for the public school district and provided advice to the district’s leadership about responding to the COVID crisis.

“It’s about the only thing we’re going to have left,” Dr. Rumsey said of vaccinations. In context of a situation where the state government has not issued a mask mandate and seems unlikely to do so, getting vaccinated is the best defense against the fast-spreading Delta Variant of COVID-19, he said.

“There’s definitely an outbreak,” Rumsey said of the current transmission of COVID-19 in Pawhuska. He said that new cases are being presented daily.

Those who have been vaccinated are generally experiencing “very subtle, mild symptoms” rather than more troubling symptoms that could lead to hospitalization, Rumsey said, reiterating that having been vaccinated makes a clear, discernible difference.

“It’s helped us out quite a bit,” he said. As Rumsey talked on Friday afternoon, July 30, he explained Pawhuska Hospital had only one COVID-19 patient at the time -- not someone with an active case, but a patient who had been transferred there for respiratory rehabilitation. There were no active COVID-19 cases at Pawhuska hospital at that point, he said.

Rumsey said the Delta Variant of COVID-19 seems to be infecting more children than previous strains of the viral illness.

“I’ve seen more kids get this variant,” Rumsey said, explaining that ill pediatric patients have been transferred elsewhere, not because they’re in critical condition but out of an abundance of caution about how the Delta Variant may affect them.

Rumsey said he has faith in the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“My whole family has been vaccinated. I trust it enough to vaccinate my children,” he said.

In Situation Reports and Epidemiology Reports, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has provided numbers in the past few weeks that give clear evidence that COVID-19 is surging in the state.

The OSDH Situation Report on COVID-19 for July 30 showed 1,777 new cases, 11,532 active cases, and a seven-day average of 1,351 new cases. Oklahoma’s provisional death count was 8,731.

The OSDH situation report on COVID-19 for July 23 showed 1,194 new cases, 7,302 active cases, with a seven-day average of 938 new cases, and a provisional death count of 8,689.

The OSDH situation report for July 16 showed 750 new cases, 4,425 active cases, a seven-day average of 561 new cases, and a provisional death count of 8,666.

The July 28 epidemiology report from OSDH says the state ranked 9th nationally for new cases per 100,000 persons.

“It is critical for Oklahomans to seek out testing, with or without symptoms,” OSDH said in its epidemiology report. Osage County residents can call the county Health Department at 918-287-3740.