PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As the nation mourns the loss of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, one local doctor says it underscores just how much risk is still involved with COVID, especially for those who aren’t vaccinated.

“Most of the statistics say, if you look at patients in the ICU or look at patients who died, it’s less than 5% of those who are vaccinated are among the ICU patients. Ninety-five percent-plus are among the vaccinated,” said Dr. Arvind Venkat, an Allegheny Health Network emergency physician.

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Dr. Venkat says unfortunately, Powell is part of the small percentage of vaccinated people to die from COVID, but he points out Powell had a co-morbidity. Dr. Venkat says it’s not uncommon for him to see those kinds of breakthrough cases.

”Generally, they have been sick enough where they require hospitalization, but not sick enough that they end up in the ICU or thankfully not dying as well,” said Dr. Venkat.

Dr. Venkat says it’s all thanks to the vaccine.

AHN currently has 160 people system-wide hospitalized with COVID-19, and the majority are unvaccinated.

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However, some people are still concerned about breakthrough cases.

“A little bit,” said Elise Lavallee. “I think it’s important to do what you can, like still mask up no matter you’re going. But, it’s clearly happening.”

But those KDKA spoke with agree the vaccine is your best protector.

“Obviously nothing is ever 100% effective, but it really changes your chances,” said Lavallee. “It changes how much it’s going to affect you.”

“Some protection is better than no protection, that’s how I look at it,” said Philip Braswell. “It’s like either you have a shield or you don’t.”

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Dr. Venkat says if you’re thinking about getting the vaccine but haven’t yet, it’s best to get it right away, especially with the holidays approaching.