Chatham Co. prepares for Omicron variant

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 7:06 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A new strain of COVID-19 has been detected in multiple states across the U.S.

Before the omicron variant reaches the Coastal Empire, the Chatham County Health Department gave an update on some things to expect.

Coastal Health District Director Dr. Lawton Davis says more people are coming in for COVID booster shots than their first or second dose of the vaccine. Chatham County residents are 52-percent fully vaccinated.

He says he’s glad more people are getting the boosters, especially with the new COVID variant spreading in the U.S., but they need people to get the primary vaccines in their arms.

Dr. Davis says omicron is not documented in Georgia yet, but he is concerned about international flights coming directly from where the variant was first detected.

“Again, I think we would be crazy to think it’s not in Georgia. It’s in five or six other states and we have this flight coming directly into Atlanta. It’s the most popular international flight to the US apparently coming from the southern portion of the continent of Africa,” Dr. Davis said.

Dr. Davis says the state and the CDC are setting up a special testing and monitoring site to keep an eye on it. He says there’s a lot we still don’t know about the new variant, but it appears to be five to six times more contagious than the delta variant

Dr. Davis says it also infects people who previously had COVID.

He says it could be several weeks before we know more about the variant, and they’re also concerned about whether the vaccine or monoclonal antibody therapy will work against it.

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