COVID-19 has gripped the country for almost two years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the infection rate in Tennessee is at its highest, with the Omicron variant now taking center stage.
The daily average of positive cases of COVID across the state of Tennessee during January sits at 19,593, with just over 11,000 of them being new cases reported each day.
The CDC released the following statement on Dec. 20, 2021, indicating that recent surges may indeed be due to the newest variant of the virus:
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
White County, like the rest of the state, is seeing these effects. As of Jan. 11, 2022, there were in 6,071 confirmed cases in the county, which relates to a rate of one in every five residents.
In the past 14 days, the county has averaged 20 new cases daily, which is an increase of 174 percent from the previous 14 days.
These statistics have the Tennessee Department of Health listing White County on the top of the charts as a county at “extremely high risk” for contracting any one of the COVID variants.
Ninety-three of Tennessee’s counties have been listed in the same category with Van Buren and Scott counties being listed one step down as “very high.”
While rumors have circulated that the newest variant, Omicron, is not as severe as previous variants, the CDC is not confirming that as of yet.
More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
While there are not vaccine or mask mandates across the state, and White County has reported that just 41 percent of its population has been vaccinated, the CDC is recommending vaccination, and booster shots, as the way to lessen the symptoms and reduce the chance of needing hospitalization if a person was to contract COVID-19.
“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, appointed CDC director, said.
The current quarantine and isolation guidelines have been adjusted by the CDC and are as follows:
Those testing positive:
Those exposed but are fully vaccinated:
Those exposed but have not been vaccinated or have not completed their vaccination series:
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