Hospital leaders continue providing clear data on COVID patients arriving for treatment in their emergency rooms, ICUs, and clinics.

Bryan Alsip, MD, MPH, FACPM, is the chief medical officer of University Health in San Antonio. In a commentary published by the San Antonio Express-News, Alsip makes clear the kinds of patient cases their medical staff have seen since June when COVID cases began another surge.

Health care, like the human body, is complex. And the public justifiably can become confused quickly when government leaders, public health officials, and private providers provide different perspectives on reports and recommendations. Alsip recognizes in his commentary recent reports of vaccinated patients seeking treatment following a positive COVID test. He further clarifies what that means for COVID-positive vaccinated patients, however, and the higher mortality rates seen for unvaccinated COVID patients.

We are seeing more COVID-19 breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated in San Antonio, and some people understandably are asking whether the vaccine really protects them.

Several factors are influencing this shift. None of the current vaccines is 100 percent effective; some patients with underlying medical conditions do not develop strong immune responses to the vaccines; other patients may be on immunosuppressive medications that make them more susceptible to infection; and some patients admitted for other conditions may test positive even though they are not symptomatic or sick with COVID-19.