Health officials say COVID-19 could become endemic

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Health officials are warning that good news does not mean the fight against coronavirus is over.

“I would think that this is going to be something that’s going to become endemic, which means that it’s going to be a virus that we’re going to have to continue to live with, and probably be vaccinated against just like the flu,” said Kim Tedford, Regional Director for the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department.

“We can prevent the virus. We can do things to lessen the severity of the illness, but there is no cure for the COVID virus. And you’ve all heard me say that deaths and hospitalizations lag behind that new case numbers and that’s exactly where we find ourselves right now,” said Amy Garner, Chief Communication and Compliance Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases may be declining, but the virus isn’t going away any time soon.

Wednesday morning, the health department reported 130 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week.

Jackson-Madison County General Hospital reached a record number of deaths earlier this week with 11 in a 24 hour period. Of those, only one had been vaccinated.

West Tennessee Healthcare reported 93 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday morning. Of those, 23 were on ventilators and 53 were in the ICU.

“Even though our active cases are going down, we still have patients that are lingering in the hospital for months at a time because this illness is so severe,” Garner said.

Aside from the positive cases, there are an additional 65 non-infectious patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.

To prevent this from happening to you, health officials advise you to get vaccinated, especially with the winter season approaching and threats of new variants.

“Any kind of variant, like the delta variant, is looking for a house to live in. And so, it’s going to move from person to person as long as it can live in that host. And the only way to stop that transmission is through vaccines. That’s all we have,” Tedford said.

The health department reported the number of school age kids that have tested positive dropped from 70 to 55 in a week.

The Jackson-Madison County School System reports there are 87 fewer students in isolation and 296 fewer students in quarantine since their mask mandate was implemented on Sept. 7.

Now, 340 students have opted out of the mandate, complying with Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order, but the school system remains encouraged.

Health officials say Madison County is still considered in a high level of transmission rate, and advise you to continue to wear your mask.

To find a vaccine near you, use this tool.

For more information on COVID-19, go to the CDC website, the Tennessee Department of Health website or call (877) 857-2945.

Additional COVID-19 information can be found in the “COVID-19” tab of the website.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News
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