2-state region waits, watches and worries about omicron variant

AUGUSTA, Ga. – With issues rising over the newly found omicron variant of coronavirus, well being consultants listed below are watching the state of affairs fastidiously.

Each the Georgia Division of Public Well being and South Carolina Division of Well being and Environmental Management say no circumstances of the variant have been discovered within the area, though the U.S. reported its first confirmed case Wednesday.

The Georgia and South Carolina businesses joined the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention in saying the emergence of omicron reinforces the necessity for preliminary and booster vaccinations.

“For anybody who hasn’t acquired their first shot in opposition to COVID-19 or hasn’t gotten their second shot within the sequence, or acquired their booster, please don’t wait any longer,” South Carolina Public Well being Director Dr. Brannon Traxler stated Wednesday.

“What is understood is that COVID vaccination helps cease transmission of an infection which prevents new variants from rising,” stated Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Division of Public Well being. “Vaccination is extra vital than ever with the emergence of this new variant and the vacations simply across the nook.”

Throughout the river in South Carolina, DHEC stated one of the simplest ways to stop extreme sickness, hospitalization or dying from COVID-19 an infection is by receiving the follow-up booster shot when eligible, persevering with to put on masks when indoors in public locations and working towards social distancing when applicable.

DHEC officers stated the company is proactively getting ready for any potential threats posed by omicron and is already testing for it.

“Presently, we don’t have confirmed information in regards to the transmissibility, the medical presentation, illness severity, danger of an infection, vaccine or therapy effectiveness or a lot else about omicron,” Traxler stated. “Nonetheless, no matter omicron or delta or some other variant, the actions you possibly can take to guard your self and defend others round you stays the identical: vaccinations, masks, testing, bodily distancing.”

DHEC hoping to stop repeat of January post-holiday COVID surge

Traxler stated South Carolina, like most different states, skilled a surge in COVID-19 circumstances, hospitalizations and deaths within the weeks after Christmas and New Yr’s.

“Jan. 6, 2021, stays our highest single day case rely thus far with 7,686″ new circumstances detected, she stated. “Fortunately, due to vaccines, we wouldn’t have to repeat final yr with plentiful entry statewide to those life-saving vaccines. We’re hopeful that we gained’t even come near seeing that lethal spike that we noticed final vacation season and shortly afterwards.”

She stated solely half of all eligible South Carolinians are absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 and practically 60% have acquired not less than one shot. She stated increasingly more younger individuals are getting vaccinated every day.

Greater than 502,000 South Carolinians have acquired a booster dose of the COVID-19 as of Tuesday, Traxler stated. That determine, she stated, consists of those that are immunocompromised.

“This clearly tells us there may be quite a lot of public curiosity in remaining protected in opposition to COVID-19,” she stated.

However she stated viruses, when given the chance and time, will mutate to outlive, urging vaccination because the “greatest protection.”

Native consultants are saying to not panic; simply proceed to take steps to guard your self.

“What’s one of the simplest ways to take care of this proper now can be actually in case you are not vaccinated, you actually need to get vaccinated now,” stated Dr. Jose Vazquez, chief of infectious illness {and professional} drugs at Augusta College.

“The 2 vaccines which have been examined seem like efficient in opposition to this virus,” he stated. “The monoclonal antibodies that we used for therapy in sufferers who’ve acute COVID works in opposition to this. And the booster shot goes to assist much more.”

From experiences by WRDW/WAGT, WIS and WTOC

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