MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Health Department has explained why the area is having another wave of COVID-19.
That “easy” Answer, said MCHD Medical Director Bob Lorinser, is that omicron variants and reinfection community rates of cases are officially seven times higher than the trough before this last wave. This, he said, is likely undercounted by two to eight times since nearly all home tests are not part of the stats.
According to Lorinser, Marquette does not have a proportionate increase in severe cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from vaccination and previous Omicron infections.
“This same answer can be given nationwide,” Lorinser said in a statement Wednesday.
According to a recent UP Health System review – Marquette COVID positive shots since May 9th:
– Of all patients hospitalized with positive COVID tests, 41% are admitted secondary to COVID and are not coincidentally positive.
– A total of 25% of patients admitted for COVID are up to date with vaccines, meaning they will receive at least one booster shot if eligible.
– No one admitted for COVID and requiring intensive care treatment will be stepped up.
– The age range of those eligible for COVID is 42-95 years old.
– The length of stay of people admitted because of COVID is one to 19 days, on average six days.
Lorinser said that vaccinated individuals, and particularly those who have been boosted, continue to have strong protection against major diseases, even against BA.2.12.1 and BA.2, known as omicron variants — the two main variants caused by the circulate United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Omicron was detected in all US states and territories as of December 20 and remains the dominant variant in the country. The Omicron variant spreads more easily than previous variants of the virus, including the Delta variant.
“These newer omicron subvariants are better than previous strains at evading immunity from vaccines and previous infections, meaning even people infected with the original omicron strain could be at risk of reinfection, but im generally still protected from serious diseases.” said Lorinser. “People who are up to date with COVID vaccines – meaning they are boosted, which I think is poor term for a three dose vaccine – and who have previously been infected with Omicron are the most protected Population.”
This group, he said, is followed by those who are vaccinated and uninfected and those who are infected but unvaccinated. Those at highest risk are those who have not been vaccinated or previously infected.
Lorinser said a local outbreak in care homes has had 22 cases over the past two weeks, with almost all residents double charged.
“In the past, before vaccination, this would have resulted in around 20 to 30 percent hospitalizations and one to four deaths,” said Lorinser.
What is seen now, he noted, is mild cold-like symptoms, with a patient with an oxygen-dependent lung disease going to the emergency room for a check-up and then being allowed to return.
“Unfortunately, several patients in hospice care diagnosed with COVID prior to diagnosis are dying unrelated to COVID, so multiple deaths will be related to COVID.” he said. “Unfair and inaccurate dates if you ask me.”
Lorinser made these suggestions:
– Get vaccinated with three doses.
– Assess your risk of reinfection and change your behavior as desired, e.g. B. by masking indoors and in public.
– If you become infected again, assess your risk of severe infection and discuss the use of antiviral therapies with your doctor.
Lorinser stressed that individuals cannot expect not to get seriously ill, be hospitalized or die if they are fully vaccinated, but their chances are probably five to 10 times lower if they are vaccinated.
He also responded to one person’s question “absolute risk” becoming seriously ill, being hospitalized, or dying.
Lorinser said he looked at several CDC databases of cases, hospitalizations and deaths by age group for the week ended May 14 and made comparisons.
Important factors such as vaccination rates, previous infections and comorbidities are not included in the data sets.
According to Lorinser, the risk of being hospitalized is about 2% for people aged 50 to 64 and 12% for people aged 65 and over.
For risk of death, it is 0.06% for people aged 50 to 64, 0.2% for people aged 65 to 74, and 1% for people aged 75 and older.
“So if you take this as an average, your risk will increase or decrease depending on several factors, as mentioned above.” said Lorinser. “For me, the risk is real and deserves my attention. That’s why I’m strengthened.”
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