Positive COVID-19 tests spike after holiday
Metro Atlanta has seen a rise in COVID-19 infections and is pointing to the Memorial Day Weekend as the likely cause. Data from state health officials show a spike in positive COVID-19 cases after Georgians returned home from gatherings. Over 5,300 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported across Georgia on Wednesday after travelers returned from their extended holiday weekend. This is more than double the average number of infections over the past few weeks. Health officials say most of Georgia and the U.S. are seeing high levels of COVID-19 transmission, spurred by multiple omicron subvariants that are rapidly infecting — and reinfecting — Americans regardless of their vaccination status.
The wave has epidemiologists worried that the uptick could overburden hospitals or cause further virus mutation that could cause more severe illness.
“The United States is on fire,” the executive director of Piedmont Healthcare’s COVID-19 task force Dr. Jayne Morgan said. “The entire map is almost completely red, either high or substantial (COVID-19 transmission).”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) community transmission map shows the country — and Georgia — as overflowing with the risk of COVID-19 infection. Nearly 69% of U.S. counties are colored red, meaning the risk is high.
Six counties in Georgia are colored yellow, indicating a medium risk, but DeKalb and Fulton’s counties are included among the higher-risk counties for the first time in months. The other counties are in rural areas of the state outside of metro Atlanta. Epidemiologists estimate that cases could be five to 10 times higher than official counts.