Dr. Memark: Cobb County COVID numbers “astronomical”

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)

Dr. Janet Memark, District Health Director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health, distributed the following update on COVID in Cobb and Douglas counties, calling the number of cases “astronomical.”

Good afternoon Cobb and Douglas counties.

Today, we are facing astronomical numbers of cases throughout both counties, with Douglas County possibly being the highest in the state at 3,083 cases/100,000 people, and Cobb not far behind with 2,468 cases/100,000. Positivity rates are also high at 43.5% for Douglas and 34.6 % for Cobb! These rates have far surpassed what we have seen at any other point during the pandemic.

Hospitals are also under strain. Together, our area hospitals are very close to surpassing the highest number of COVID patients they have had admitted to the hospital. Remember that the hospitals have been fighting this pandemic for almost two years. They are the last line of defense we have to care for our community.

Many of you may be asking yourselves, “What’s the problem when all the people that I know who caught Omicron only have mild symptoms?” Well, here is the problem, even if it is a milder form of COVID-19, it is much more infectious, and these are still those people who will get seriously ill. It has been able to even evade some of our immune and vaccine protection against transmission of the virus. These mutations have given it the ability to infect more people much faster. With tens of thousands of people sick at the same time, even a small percentage of those who get sick enough to go to the hospital can still be a large number and overwhelm the health system that we have in place.

We are aware of the long testing waits as many people look to get tested. Yesterday, the KSU/Brandsmart location opened for services, and Jim Miller Park opened today with Monday-Saturday testing available. We would like to thank our partners at Kennesaw State University and Cobb County for the assistance they have given us to open these sites.

One of the things that we can all do to protect ourselves at this time is to get your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. Anyone 16 and over can get the booster shot. Depending on your age and which vaccine you received, you can get the booster between 2-6 months after your completed series. You can check with the CDC to see what is right for you at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html. Also, the FDA recently approved the booster for 12-15 year-olds and for children 5 and over with immunocompromising conditions. These recommendations will next go to the CDC for approval, and then the Ga DPH will send us their final recommendations and instructions. Please keep watching our website to soon be taking appointments for these groups.
I hope you all have a safe and blessed new year. Please help our community get through this surge by getting vaccinated and boosted and wearing your masks in public.


Janet Pak Memark M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P.
District Health Director
District 3-1: Cobb & Douglas Public Health