Camden County health officials in an official Town Hall meeting say there is mounting concern that South Jersey could face a brutal flu season made worse by the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Commissioner Melinda Kane said there are 262 people in area hospitals being treated for COVID-19, and 9 more deaths were reported last week.
“Over the last seven days, we are averaging 115 new cases of COVID each day, and that’s an increase,” Kane said. “Unfortunately residents are still being hospitalized and dying of COVID."
Kane, along with several health officials said the best protection against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and use common sense mitigation measures.
But even some of those measures could fall short now that the new Omicron strain has been detected in nearby New York.
Infectious disease specialists like Dr. Mark Condoluci of Jefferson Health say the new strain of the Coronavirus could be resistant to current vaccines and spread faster.
“What the worry is with this variant of the virus is that because of certain mutations within the virus it may have a higher likelihood of being communicated from person to person so there is a higher transmissibility,” said Condoluci.
The combined threat of Omicron with what Condoluci says could be a tough flu season for South Jersey has health officials on high alert.
“There is a worry is that it could be a bad flu season and the reason for that is because last year we didn't see much flu and there is a certain amount of immunity in the community from year to year." Condoluci said that if you have a year with essentially no flu in an area, the overall immunity for that region is much lower.
“The the worry is that this year the flu is going to spread more readily, and if you combine that with the possibility of this new [Omicron] variant coming in... it could be a difficult winter. “
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