Local COVID Numbers Slightly Decrease but Hospitals Fill with Other Respiratory Infections

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – While new Hamilton County COVID cases continue a slight decline following a pandemic all-time high last week, local hospitals report they are still seeing crowds.

“So we had anticipated some increases just because of indoor gatherings, the holidays, traveling around, gathering perhaps with more people than we normally would when we’re being very cautious and not knowing the vaccination status of those individuals,” says Dr. Mary Lambert who is the Director of Community Health for the City of Chattanooga.

The Hamilton County Health Department reports there are 492 new cases today, down from 538 on Friday and a record high of 948 last Wednesday. Dr. Lambert says the local vaccination rate sits at 54.5 percent but it’s the vaccination that she says is what prevents major symptoms of COVID-19. A doctor at CHI Memorial says the hospital numbers aren’t overwhelming nor near the height of the pandemic. But he says other respiratory viruses have a concerned public headed to the emergency room, maybe unnecessarily.

“We’re in our traditional cold and flu season and because we’re also in pandemic, I’m sure folks are really concerned when they start having those cold and flu symptoms,” says Dr. Lambert.

Dr. Lambert reminds the public to only go to the emergency room if you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms.

“I believe folks should really make sure they check in. If they have a clinic where they get most of their care, a primary care doctor, a nurse practitioner, and that they get their guidance from them or their practice as to what to do next,” says Dr. Lambert.

Stay with News 12 for continual updates on COVID-19 infection in the Tennessee Valley.

Categories: Chattanooga, COVID-19, Featured, Local News