Dr. Janet Memark, District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health issued her periodic update on COVID-19 cases in the counties.
She said that while hospitalizations and new cases were falling, the rate of decrease was slowing, and the UK and South African variants are a growing problem in the state.
Here is the letter from Dr. Memark:
Good afternoon Cobb and Douglas Counties,
With the warmer weather, we are still feeling hopeful as COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to fall. The descent is slower and seems to be plateauing in the 300-350/100,000 range of cases. These are still considered 3 times the high range of transmission. We continue to have a growing problem with the UK and the South African variants in Georgia. If these variants take hold before we have enough people vaccinated, we may suffer another tremendous surge and more loss of life. Continued preventive measures like wearing masks, physical distancing and washing hands still need to be taken during this time.
Governor Kemp has opened eligibility this week to educators, parents of children with complex medical problems, and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. We at Cobb & Douglas Public Health are working hard to vaccinate over 12,000 educators in Cobb and Douglas Counties.
On Monday, March 15, eligibility grows to include adults over the age of 55, individuals with disabilities, and those over 16 with certain medical conditions. Children 16-17 will need to get the Pfizer vaccine where available.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was also released this week and has been prioritized for educators by the Governor. We expect that there will be more released at the end of the month. This vaccine is a one-dose vaccine. The efficacy of the vaccine was found to be 74% in the United States with an almost perfect record of preventing death and hospitalizations at 28 days. That is phenomenal!
President Biden announced last night that he wanted all adults eligible for the COVID vaccines by May 1 with hopes that we will return to normalcy by the 4th of July. How beautifully fitting would it be for our country to celebrate its independence in this way? To meet that goal, we all need to work together. Please get vaccinated with whatever vaccine that you can and protect each other by not gathering without masks or socially distancing if you aren’t vaccinated. We look forward to the day when we can all be together again.
Sincerely, Janet Pak Memark M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P.
District Health Director