CM – An expert calls for vaccinations as Omicron spreads – Washington Daily News

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By Brandon Tester

Vidant Health has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions over the past month. The hospital system said there was a 191% increase in weekly average COVID cases in the region and a 128% increase in the total number of COVID-positive inpatients across the system between November 28 and December 28 in the timeframe , with the vast majority of these patients being unvaccinated.

Vidant recorded 685 COVID test results on November 28; 44 of them (6.4%) were positive. The 7-day moving average at this point in time was 6.8%. The system returned 2,619 results on December 28; of these, 706 (27%) were positive, and the 7-day average was 19.8%.

« My plea and my request – I use this word very honestly – is please, please, please, please to get vaccinated, « said Dr. T. Ryan Gallaher, an infectious disease expert at Vidant, during a call with reporters Thursday. “Again I beg everyone to do that. We can’t stress this enough. « When I say vaccinated, the value of the booster is extremely effective, » added Gallaher. “I want everyone to remember it. Early data from the UK and South Africa showed that the booster, that extra shot, protects you from around 33% to around 75%. Again, the value of that extra shot is hugely important. ”

“ We continue to see the ever increasing incidence of omicron in our sequencing, ”said Gallaher. “The exact percentage is difficult to determine because we’re sequencing them in batches, but it increases logarithmically. It’s safe to say that most of the variants are Omicron at this point. ”

In a December 16 update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Omicron is“ likely more communicable ”than the original virus , which causes COVID-19, but how easily Omicron spreads compared to the Delta variant is unknown. The CDC said vaccines are still designed to protect against serious illness, hospital admissions, and death, and that breakthrough infections are likely.

International studies have shown that Omicron infection is less likely to be hospitalized than the delta variant.

« Regarding the severity of Omicron, other countries have certainly seen a slightly lower case mortality index, which is another way of saying the severity is lower per patient; Unfortunately, what we’re also seeing is because it’s so much more transferable that we’re seeing more hospital admissions from the general population’s point of view, ”said Gallaher. « Just because we’re less severe per patient doesn’t mean it will be less severe as a population. »

« We usually see a delay of about two weeks from Thanksgiving, » Gallaher said. “But it’s interesting that we’re seeing a shorter incubation period at Omicron. H. from time of exposure to infection.

« Thanksgiving certainly had something to do with it, but it’s probably not the only factor. I think it’s just part of all the holidays and Christmas and everyone just wants to get together and things like that. Here, too, Omicron has a shorter incubation period, so it is more likely to be the last holiday, Christmas and the time until Christmas.

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