Can we expect a Winter COVID surge: ‘Impossible to tell or predict’

Local experts talk COVID ahead of winter illness season.
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:42 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - COVID cases and hospitalizations have been on a downward trend across Alabama, however will that trend continue as we head into the Fall and Winter season of will there be another surge like we have seen in years past?

Dr. George Narby, chief medical officer at Southeast Health, said right now it’s impossible to tell or predict.

He said that’s because we are currently in the midst of an Omicron BA.5 surge, but things are looking as if we are coming out of it soon. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the community transmission across Alabama remains high, but it is declining. The states community levels over the past seven days show the Wiregrass counties mostly in the medium level. (hyperlink: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=d84846411471404c83313bfe7ab2a367 )

“In order for there to be a Winter surge, there would have to be another surge pretty soon on the heels of the one we are currently in,” Dr. Narby said. “I haven’t seen that before, but I don’t know if that could happen again in the future. I think for a real prominent surge to occur, we’d have to have a new variant and that is certainly a possibility, although right now there is no evidence to suggest that a new variant is on the horizon.”

If there were to be another Winter surge, Dr. Narby said the medical center has emergency plans in place they are ready to execute when and if needed. Dr. Narby added, The hospital has been through five surges and have managed high hospitalization rates with COVID in the past.

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