Cobb County Communications Director Ross Cavitt posted a video conversation between Cobb BOC Chairwoman Lisa Cupid and Dr. Janet Memark, District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health about the recent alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in the county, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the disease.
The video is about 16 minutes long, and we’ve embedded it at the bottom of this article.
Highlights from the video
Cavitt introduced the video by mentioning that Cupid had signed a Declaration of Emergency the previous week and asked that she give her thoughts on the recent surge.
She said that since the Declaration of Emergency had been put into place, the daily number of COVID-19 cases have been climbing by the hundreds.
She said that the number had climbed from a rate in the low hundreds per 100,000 of population, to over 1,000 cases per 100,000 in about a week.
“So I thought it was critical for us to be able to communicate to the public just how dire things are right now,” Cupid said. “But something tells me that they’re getting a bit more of a sense of that.
“I’ve seen cars lined up to public health center,” she said.
Dr. Memark said, “We may be seeing some record-setting numbers coming very soon, maybe even today.”
She said that earlier indications about the Omicron variant seem to be borne out by recent data: that it’s much more transmissible than earlier variants, and that it seems more resistant to the vaccine.
Memark said that with the number of people infected, the health agencies weren’t going to be able to keep up with the demand for testing.
“Our county actually has a lot of testing opportunities,” she said. “And almost all of those are completely overwhelmed right now.”
She said this extends over the metro Atlanta area.
Cavitt asked Cupid to comment on the situation with testing.
“In my own office, one of my staff members had difficulty getting testing for her family,” Cupid said. “And I’ve seen it just driving around the county.”
She said that at one East Cobb facility she observed, cars were wrapped around the intersection at the test center.
Dr. Memark said that the Delta variant had not even subsided when the Omicron variant hit, so the cases now could be a mixture of the two variants.
She also advised against going to a testing facility unnecessarily.
“If you absolutely don’t need to have a test, please don’t get in those lines and take up all the space to get tested,” she said. “If you have symptoms at this time, you most likely have it.”
She said the best immediate response is to go home and self-isolate.
“(If) you’re showing symptoms, you probably have it,” she said. “Just go home and isolate at this point, you don’t need to get in the line and confirm that you need to isolate anyway.”
“Even if you have something else, you could have the flu, you don’t want to be giving that to people either,” said Dr. Memark.
Memark said that there is a discussion of bringing the National Guard in to help with testing, but that will still be unlikely to meet the demand.