Dr. Memark: COVID hospitalizations and deaths double over past week

Janet Memark speaks at Healthy Start meeting used in article about COVID cases in CobbJanet Memark speaks at Healthy Start meeting (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

In one of her periodic messages to the community, Dr. Janet Memark, District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health raised alarms once again, reporting that deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 have doubled in Georgia.

Read her message, reprinted below:

Good Afternoon Cobb and Douglas Counties.

hope this Thursday finds you well and safe.

This is another week where I wished that I had better news for you. Once again, we are seeing very high numbers of cases, both in the state of Georgia and locally. Since last week, hospitalizations and deaths in the state have doubled. Remember that these are lagging indicators and will come in later than the cases reported. We continue to see the vast majority of those with severe illness, hospitalized and dying, being unvaccinated.

We are also seeing concerning numbers of children being infected with COVID-19. In children 5-17 years-old, there has been a 60% increase in cases since last week, and we have seen numbers double for children aged 11-17. The number of cases and outbreaks reported in schools is also very high.

In Cobb County, we are at 779 cases per 100,000 people, almost 8 times higher than high community transmission. Douglas County is seeing even higher numbers of 881 cases per 100,000 people! That is almost 9 times higher. Once again, critical care beds are critically low in our district.

We recently received the welcome news that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 years and older. This validates the rigorous process that the vaccine underwent, as well as its safety and efficacy profile. The vaccine is still available under Emergency Use Authorization for people 12 and older.

You may have also seen President Biden speak on the need for vaccine boosters starting sometime in September. Some studies and data coming forward is showing the need for a booster dose due to possible waning vaccine immunity after about 6-8 months. That being said, the vaccine’s defense against severe illness and death against the virus and variants is still very good. We are currently awaiting official guidance from the FDA and CDC about these boosters, but CDPH is preparing for the rollout.

Additionally, there are some populations who may need a third additional shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. If you are immunocompromised, such as having cancer, on immunosuppressive meds or have had a transplant, please get your third dose of vaccine to increase your immunity. You can do this at least 28 days after your second dose.

There are actually validated reports of people taking the deworming horse medicine, Ivermectin, to prevent COVID-19.

DO NOT DO THIS! Let me add-if you have Strongyloidiasis, Norwegian Scabies or River Blindness AND are under the care of a physician, you can be treated with Ivermectin INTENDED FOR HUMANS! This medicine can cause seizures, comas and death.

I know that we are all struggling through this Delta surge. For the next few weeks, I advise everyone to be cautious. The virus is around you EVERYWHERE. Your best defense is getting vaccinated and wearing your masks. Until numbers come down, I would not gather in large groups. We can only get through this by working together. That being said, do what you can to keep yourselves and your families safe.

Sincerely,  Janet Pak Memark M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P.

District Health Director

District 3-1: Cobb & Douglas Public Health