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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Doctors are urging people to get vaccinated and mask up.

“If you don’t get vaccinated, you’re going to get COVID over the next few weeks. That’s how contagious delta is,” Dr. Mark Dougherty said.

Doctors say the delta variant is spreading so quickly that we can’t ignore it. A month ago Baptist Health Lexington had a handful of COVID patients. Now, it’s seeing at least 50 patients as day, and doctors fear numbers will only increase.

“It’s very saddening for me talking to people who have a misunderstanding about the vaccine, misplaced fears,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Dr. Dougherty, an infectious disease specialist, says vaccinated people who catch COVID have milder symptoms. But his unvaccinated patients haven’t been so lucky.

“They’re telling me they just made a mistake and they’re weeping and crying as they’re suffering, can’t breathe, and end up on the ventilator dying,” Dr. Dougherty said.

It’s why he’s stressing the importance of masks inside schools. He says the delta variant is also affecting children.

“That’s actually filling up the children’s hospitals here in Kentucky,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Doctors say the vaccines are safe and the risks of getting one are rare.