The headlines have been populated with multiple stories of COVID-19 spikes in various corners of the U.S. Prominent among them was news of an outbreak among unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals in Provincetown, MA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of the 470 cases there occurred in those who were fully immunized against the virus, and the Delta variant was found in most of the samples assessed. In close proximity to that event, the CDC claimed that the Delta variant “is as contagious as chickenpox,” and more transmissible than MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, seasonal influenza, and smallpox. Finally, Johns Hopkins University revealed that the number of cases in the country tripled over a 2-week period starting July 6, from fewer than 13,700 cases to more than 37,000; again, the Delta variant was thought to be a prime reason. While vaccinated patients are, indeed, becoming sick with breakthrough cases of COVID-19, states with high numbers of unvaccinated residents are leading the nation; Louisiana (among the poorest-performing states in terms of vaccination rates) just noted it’s third-highest daily case count since early 2020, and Utah (another state struggling with vaccine hesitancy) just saw its highest number of new cases since February. The clear message to urgent care operators is twofold: Keep driving efforts to get more people (especially staff members) vaccinated, and prepare your team to ramp up testing efforts and assess patients who may need to be sent to the hospital.

Here We Go Again: U.S. COVID-19 Cases Are Surging—and There’s Plenty of Blame to Go Around