By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – The long Labor Day weekend traditionally is a time for travel, festivals, football and overall getting together one more time before winter rolls around. This year, despite a pandemic, seems to be no different.

That’s why doctors and health care professionals are bracing for a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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“The question is, ‘are they going to be consequential?’ Meaning ‘Are you unvaccinated and have an underlying condition? In which case don’t do that.’ If you are vaccinated and healthy, and you don’t interact with people who are unvaccinated and unhealthy then I think it’s a relatively safe environment for you,” said Dr. Richard Zane UCHealth Chief Innovation Officer and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine.

He says if you catch COVID-19, whether you get gravely ill depends entirely on if you are vaccinated.

“This had really become the vaccinated and the unvaccinated,” he said.

The stats prove it. UCHealth hospitals are seeing the 25% of Coloradans who are unvaccinated are making up the vast majority of patients, 82%, with COVID-19. More than 90% of ventilated patients in ICUs are unvaccinated.

There are some hospitalized patients who were vaccinated, but many of those patients are immunocompromised. Zane says getting vaccinated will protect you, your family and the vulnerable.

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(credit: UCHealth)

“It’s not about you. It’s about being a member of society and contributing,” he said.

If you have read there is an alternative treatment that will prevent COVID, and doctors just aren’t giving it to people, Zane, who has spent his entire career and much of his life studying health and medicine says think again.

“Ivermectin, which is a veterinary anti-parasitic drug, has no role in the prevention or treatment of COVID.”

He says if you want to get together with people this long weekend and not get a deadly disease, the solution is right in front of you.

“Look, the single most important thing you can do is get vaccinated. The second, third, and fourth most important thing you can do is get vaccinated. The other things still work; washing your hands, physical distancing and wearing a mask, but getting vaccinated is by far the single most important thing you can do for yourself for your family for society.”

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Michael Abeyta