COVID numbers up locally as new variant proves one of most contagious strains yet

Published 11:26 am Friday, July 15, 2022

There’s a new warning from those tracking the symptoms of the newest variant of the coronavirus. Public health providers said the newer BA.5 subvariant of omicron may be one of the most contagious strains yet.
It’s likely what’s driving up the cases in the U.S. and around the world.
During the seven-day period ending July 2, the Tennessee Department of Health reported a daily case rate for Carter County of 32.2 for the previous seven-day period, which doubled the rate for the previous seven-day period. The positivity rate for that seven-day period was 33 percent — the highest in the area.
Washington County’s positivity rate for the same seven-day period was 21.9 percent with a daily case rate of 26.5 per 100,000 residents per day; Sullivan County had a positivity rate of 24 percent with a daily case rate of 28.5 cases per 100,000 residents per day.
Greene County reported a positivity rate of 15.9 percent with a daily case rate of 23.2 cases per day; Unicoi County reported a positive rate of 23.3 percent for the seven-day period ending July 2 with a daily case rate of 20.8 percent per day.
The main symptoms of the new BA.5 subvariant of omicron which is showing up in most recent COVID cases include:
• Coughing
• Runny Nose
• Sore Throat
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Muscle Pain
• Sneezing
• Pain
These are all symptoms that are not likely to put a person in the hospital with one exception that can take the virus from mild to more severe. That’s shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
“That hasn’t really changed. It continues to be a good way to know whether you need to be seen or not,” said a news release from the Tenn. Dept. of Health.
Since COVID began, state statistics show 17,130 cases in Carter County with 342 deaths. The number of vaccinations for COVID in Carter County, according to state records, is 68,355. Of that number 5.04 percent of residents have received at least one dosage; 46.1 percent of the county’s residents are fully vaccinated; and 20 percent of the fully vaccinated residents have received a booster.
COVID-19 testing and vaccines are available at the Carter County Health Department. COVID-19 vaccines are available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Appointments for vaccines are encouraged but not required.
COVID-19 self-collect home test kits are available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
A spokesman at the Carter County Health Department said you can protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, covering sneezes and coughs, and washing your hands often.

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