Coastal Health District gives update on COVID numbers, future vaccines

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:18 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - With school out and families going on their summer vacations, the Coastal Health District wants to remind you that COVID is not gone.

Numbers are on the rise. The last month Chatham County has seen COVID numbers on the rise, but it is hard to get an accurate picture of what is really out there since so many people are doing at home testing and those cases are not being reported.

Here is a look at what we do know.

First looking at the Community Transmission Level, remember anything over 100 is considered high, we were below that mark in Chatham County but in May crossed it again. You can see the steady increase over the last month going from 134 to 272 as of last week.

Now looking at case numbers in Chatham County, those are also on the rise, and keep in mind these numbers are greatly under-reported. You can see the jump in cases over the last few weeks with 215 cases to end the week of May 14 and by the end of last week, there were close to 692 cases reported during that week.

“We’re seeing people who are fully up to date on vaccinations, they have had their primary series, they have had a booster, some people have had 2 boosters, some people have had all of that and have been sick and they are still getting infected with it, that is the bad news. The good news is that typically the huge majority of those people are not incredibly sick they just have a sore throat and a cold and then they improve,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Coastal Health District.

Right now, the predominant circulating variant is BA.2.12.1, which is more contagious than the original Omicron variant. New mutations of that variant, B.4 and B.5 are now circulating.

They are causing a surge in Africa right now and both of those have already been found in the state of Georgia.

Dr. Davis says COVID just doesn’t seem to want to go away so he urges you to continue practicing the three W’s and stay safe this summer.

COVID-19 vaccine

Kids under the age of 5 might be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month, and a new COVID-19 vaccine option for adults could also be available soon.

Just as a reminder for all adults out there and kids over the age of 5, you can get your initial COVID-19 vaccine series and one booster.

Any adults over 50 or people who are immunocompromised can get a second booster four months after your first.

But there is still one age group that hasn’t been able to get the vaccine at all yet.

One week from Wednesday, the FDA will meet to look at Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for kids 6 months to 5-years-old.

The Coastal Health District is now pre-ordering that vaccine to have in stock as soon as it becomes available.

The exact dosage and timeline of shots will be determined by the FDA and CDC once they give their approval.

Dr. Lawton Davis says not only will this be a big step for kids once they return to daycare and the classroom, but for families in general to have the youngest population vaccinated.

“The other way it could help everyone in general, a lot of times child care is provided by aunt, uncle and grandparents and grandparents may be vaccinated but if the little 4 year old isn’t than that is another cycle of spread that is available and reinfection so it kind of closes the loop on those people and help break the cycle of re-infection,” Dr. Davis said.

For adults getting their vaccine, there could soon be a new option for you as well. Novavax is looking to get approval from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine. It would include two doses given three weeks apart and a booster shot after six months.

As far as where the vaccines go from here, Dr. Davis says it depends on what the virus does. But in the coming months, we will learn more about if additional boosters are needed.

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