Still climbing… COVID hospitalizations increase 33 patients since Friday

Published 11:51 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the region creating a spike in hospitalizations.
That comes from Ballad Health Chief Infection Prevention Officer Jamie Swift as the health provider’s 21 hospitals in the region saw the total number of patients rise to 355 since Friday – an increase of more that 10% with 75 of those patients in ICU and 54 on ventilators, with 64 deaths in the last seven days.
“Unfortunately we are seeing the impact of COVID,” Swift said. “When we have this many cases in the region, we are going to see an increase in hospitalizations. Our projections have us going higher and higher so unfortunately I don’t think that these will be the highest numbers that we see.”
The current positivity rate stands at 29.7% ,meaning that one in three tests are coming back positive. That number is skewed according to Swift as “home tests are not being reported and figured into those numbers we report”.
One area of concern is the increase in cases of pediatric hospitalizations as that number has more than doubled since Friday climbing from four patients to 10 patients.
“I think we are seeing exactly what we thought would happen as kids are back in school and participating in extra-curricular activities as the Omicron variant is so contagious, you get 10 positives for every positive and we haven’t dealt with an infectious disease like that,” Swift said.
“So, with that many positives in the community, we are going to see an increase in overall positives in our children, so more kids are going to end up sick and in the hospital.”
Swift added that in general, the health provider is “seeing an overwhelming trend” that those who are ending up in the hospital have not received their vaccinations while the vaccine is doing a good job of keeping people out of the hospital and the ICU.
“We are seeing a very large spread of illness,” Swift said. “People want to jump on Omicron as being mild but you are going to see a lot of hospitalizations. What we are seeing is truly a tip of the iceberg.”

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