A Message From Our District Health Director,
Good afternoon Cobb and Douglas communities.
This first week of February brings with it some much needed good news, but an ominous warning as well. Let’s start with good news. We seem to finally be coming off of the holiday surge. We are seeing falling case rates and hospitalizations, as well. The death toll was high with this surge, but we hope that the number of deaths we are seeing will also slow. Please remember that having over 600 cases/100,000 people is still over 6 times what is considered “high” transmission. Caution is still recommended.
The buzz continues to be about the vaccines. Many of you may have seen that Cobb & Douglas Public Health has not been able to open new appointments for this week. Due to decreased vaccine supply, we have only been able to fulfill vaccine appointments that were previously scheduled or second doses. We hope that federal vaccine supplies will increase soon, so that we can continue to vaccinate more people in our community.
As many of you may have already heard, our next big COVID challenge is the existence of the variant strains that are already in our community. We have confirmed multiple cases of the UK strain B.1.1.7 in Cobb and Douglas Counties. The increased contagiousness and possibly increased lethality would not have good outcomes if it is allowed to take hold in our community. Due to the need for a specialty lab, these results are often delayed to the point where case investigation and contact tracing may be obsolete. Each of the cases we have seen have not had any significant linkage to tie back to an incident case. What that means for us that it has already been found to be transmitting in the community unfettered. This information once again reminds of our need to stick with tried and true public health measures.
I know that we are excited that case rates have been dropping, but please DO NOT let down your guard. We only have a very small percentage of our population that is fully vaccinated. If we let this variant take hold, we will be in for another deadly surge and delay in returning back to normal life.
Please hold out a little longer and continue to WEAR your masks, physically distance from others, WASH your hands and do not gather with people outside of your family. There is a light that we see. It will take us all moving together to get to it.
Janet Pak Memark M.D., M.P.H, F.A.C.P.
District Health Director
District 3-1: Cobb & Douglas Public Health