COVID cases on the rise since the holiday season

Hannibal Regional Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pranav Parikh said approximately 20-25% of the patients currently admitted at HRH are COVID cases, and that a number of cases in the area have been confirmed as the Omicron.

HANNIBAL — COVID-19 is on the rise again and the Omicron variant is now in the area.

Dr. Pranav Parikh, Hannibal Regional Hospital chief medical officer, said approximately 20-25% of the patients currently admitted at HRH are COVID cases, and that a number of cases in the area have been confirmed as Omicron.

Parikh said the Omicron variant is less severe for people who are vaccinated but it is still severe for the unvaccinated.

“The current vaccines do cover the Omicron variant,” he said. “Vaccinated folks are getting sick but it is very rare.”

The CDC website reports that “current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.”

According to the CDC, the vaccine has been effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death, and “the recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.”

The CDC is working with state and local public health officials to monitor the spread of Omicron.

Marion County Health Department Administrator Jean McBride said Marion County cases have been going up since Halloween.

“Every time there is a holiday or something like that, they go up,” said Jean McBride.

Marion County reported 191 active cases in the county with 72 new cases as of Jan. 6.

Overall, the county has reported 107 COVID-19 related deaths.

The Ralls County Health Department data also shows a rise in numbers through the holidays.

It was reported on Oct. 16 eight active cases in the county and no hospitalizations. The number went up to 39 active cases and five hospitalizations on Nov. 17. On Tuesday, the Health Department reported 43 active cases with five hospitalizations. The numbers went up again the following Thursday as they reported 49 active cases with six hospitalizations.

There were 19 COVID-19 related deaths reported on Oct. 16 and that number has risen to 22 as of Thursday.

McBride said the spread will likely continue over the winter, as people are together at home and working together in close environments. She also mentioned that the flu season is in full swing with a large number of Influenza A cases in the county right now.

“The more we move about and get on with our lives, the more we are going to spread the virus,” she said. “People just need to remember that it’s out there. It’s invisible to those who aren’t sick or who are carrying the symptoms but we can spread it really easily to those who can’t fight and can’t get the vaccine.”

Parikh said HRH is ready to care for the sick, as they are not short on beds or ventilators for those who need them.

However, they are currently short on staff.

“We need everyone’s help. Please get vaccinated,” he said.

McBride also reminds everyone to continue with safety precautions to prevent spreading COVID.

“We still need to wear masks and use all of those tools we have to use,” she said.

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