Omicron Surge Continues in Hamilton County
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – With 670 new cases reported in Hamilton County today, Chattanooga continues to face yet another surge of COVID-19.
Driven by the Omicron variant, this new wave comes with a high positivity rate.
“We have high transmission. Positivity rate is over forty-six percent. That means half of those tests that we get reports on, that are reported, are positive,” said Dr. Mary Lambert, Director of Chattanooga Community Health.
While the risk of hospitalization appears to be lower with Omicron than with Delta, symptoms can still be severe.
“We’re still seeing people come to the ICU. We’re still seeing people very, very sick. We’re still seeing people who need to be on artificial, mechanical ventilation. And we’re still seeing people die of complications, even with Omicron,” said Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, President of the Chattanooga Medical Society.
As with previous variants, the risk of serious illness depends on who the virus infects.
“It depends on their, whether they have preexisting conditions, whether they are vaccinated or not. We certainly see some indication that those who are not vaccinated, they’re going to have worse outcomes than someone who is vaccinated,” said Lambert.
While it’s unclear exactly how long the surge will last, cases could begin to fall at the end of the month.
“We’re looking at the end of January, really, to start seeing numbers coming down. An that is an estimate based on other communities that are ahead of us in the surge,” said, Baleeiro.