This week, Scott County has experienced the three single days with the most confirmed COVID cases since the pandemic began, according to WEDCO Health District statistics.
On Monday some 256 confirmed cases, Tuesday, 216 confirmed cases and Wednesday, 206 confirmed cases of COVID were diagnosed. Prior to this week, the highest number of confirmed cases in a single day was back in September with 117.
“We have so much disease that if you are walking around Scott County without a mask, you can just assume you are being exposed (to COVID),” said Dr. Crystal Miller, WEDCO public health director. “We are no longer contact tracing because our staff is being so taxed with testing. Right now, we are working with over 1,000 cases and we are still backlogged with cases.”
On Monday, WEDCO had a backlog of 700 people waiting to be tested, but the number of backlogged cases has been reduced in recent days, Miller said. Everyone being tested is ill, she said.
Although the Omicron variant has not been identified specifically in Scott County, Miller said we can assume it is here.
“The Omicron variant is so contagious it spreads very quickly, almost like the measles,” she said. “The numbers are growing so fast we have to assume that is one factor for such a rapid growth in cases is the Omicron variant.”
COVID tests do not specify which variant of the virus a patient may have, just whether they have COVID, Miller said. The state Department of Health will take a number of positive tests and run an analysis of those tests and then identify what percentage of those tests are Alpha (the original virus), Delta or Omicron, she said.
There is so much misinformation being disseminated on the virus, but the Centers of Disease Control are frequently changing protocols and other recommendations that people are growing confused, Miller said.
“People don’t know what to do, so they get scared or angry or they do nothing,” she said. “I understand.”
The latest wave of confirmed cases seems to have targeted the 40 years of age or younger group.
“Many of those being hospitalized are younger people,” Miller said. A 34-year-old recently died in the WEDCO Health District which serves Scott, Harrison and Nicholas counties, she said.
This week, 95 cases of the county’s confirmed cases, or almost 11 percent, were younger than 18 years of age with 328 people or almost 33 percent, of the confirmed cases are 40 years or younger being diagnosed with COVID. Eight people have been hospitalized this week, ranging from 34 to 83 years of age. Five of those hospitalized were unvaccinated.
“When was the last time we had 14 people hospitalized in Scott County with the same disease?” Miller said. “I’d say it would go back to tuberculosis.”
Through Jan. 12, Scott County has reported 1,151 confirmed cases of COVID during the month — a little less than 10 percent of the total number of COVID cases since the pandemic began. There have been 20 hospitalizations and two deaths this month, according to WEDCO.
The Scott County Public Health Department is now providing vaccines every day. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins will be taken.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.