Dr. Janet Memark, District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health issued one of her periodic updates to the community and reports that COVID cases are rising again both in Cobb County and statewide, and that the positivity rate has also shown an increase.
Here is her letter, reprinted below:
Good afternoon Cobb and Douglas counties.
Today, we bring you updates about COVID-19 in our communities. 14-day transmission rates continue to be in the HIGH transmission level for both counties. Cobb County is at 174/100,000 and Douglas County is at 146/100,000. Percent positive rates have also risen over the last few weeks to 4.9% in both counties. A concerning trend has been the 7-day case rate for the state, which rose 44%. We are seeing rises in hospitalizations, as well.Advertisement
You may be asking yourself, “Is this Omicron?” We will talk a little more about that, but actually, it is still Delta wreaking havoc upon us. There are several states in the U.S. where hospital systems are completely overwhelmed with cases of Delta.
Now, for Omicron. What we know is that on November 26, 2021, the variant was named a Variant of Concern by the World Health Organization. Since that time, it has been identified in over 57 countries around the world. There are three cases so far identified in Georgia.
One of the reasons that Omicron is of such concern is the 50 mutations that it has, 30 of which are located on the spike protein-the areas responsible for transmissibility and immune response. Thus far, we have seen its ability to rapidly multiply and spread. Questions that we still have include its severity. There are reports that indicate milder severity of illness for Omicron cases. Since the variant is relatively new, that is being looked at this time.
Other questions involve our vaccine and therapeutic response. There are some early indications that seem to point to increased immunity with getting COVID-19 vaccine boosters, but that is also being researched at this time. We are still awaiting word of whether medications and treatments will work on this variant. Testing, both PCR and home testing remain effective and are important tools to control the spread of the virus.
I want to remind everyone that COVID-19 vaccines are available for ages 5-11. It is important to get everyone vaccinated to help control the spread and further mutation of this virus.
Also, please be aware that everyone 16 and over should receive the booster shots as well. If you are 6 months from completion of your vaccine series, your immune defense may be declining. We are still battling the Delta variant, and our booster rate is only 14% in Cobb County and 9% in Douglas County!
The last piece of information that I will leave you with today is the FLU. This is the first season that we will experience the flu during the pandemic. We are seeing rises in cases in schools, universities and in emergency rooms. Please go get your flu vaccine. You do not want to face the possibility of two major viral illnesses waiting for you.
Please be safe during the holidays and let us all remember our blessings.
Janet Pak Memark M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P.
District Health Director
District 3-1: Cobb & Douglas Public Health