READING, Pa. – As the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to report elevated COVID-19 case numbers, Dr. Debra Powell says Berks County accounts for a small portion of it.

On Monday of last week, the hospital had reported zero COVID-19 inpatients for the first time in more than a year.

"Shortly after we had zero patients, we had a couple that are still here in house, but even though our numbers are really low, they're much better than the peak we saw back in the winter," said Powell, Reading Hospital's chief of infectious diseases.

Powell says a majority of the patients being hospitalized nationwide have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes as the delta variant continues to spread throughout parts of the country.

She warns that strains of the virus could very well continue to mutate.

"That is the key message — that the vaccine prevents severe disease and hospitalization," Powell said. "Even the small breakthrough cases that we see after the vaccine are usually milder and they don't require hospitalizations."

While Powell says vaccination rates in Berks have been good, she added that the county is still not close to where it needs to be for herd immunity.

"It's been highly effective, but we won't get through this pandemic without everybody stepping forward that can receive the vaccine and get it," Powell said.

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links, images, GIFs, inappropriate language, or memes may be removed by the moderator. Job listings and similar posts are likely automated SPAM messages from Facebook and are not placed by WFMZ-TV.