(WJHL) – Ballad Health has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases as 30 patients are hospitalized with the virus as of Thursday, which is an increase from the sometimes single digits they’ve been having admitted for the past several months.
Ballad’s Chief Infection Prevention Officer, Jamie Swift, said they started seeing an uptick in community cases about two weeks ago.
“So, we know when we start seeing an uptick in those community cases, that a week or so behind the hospitalizations will increase,” Swift said.
Swift said some patients already knew they were positive before coming to the hospital, but their symptoms progressed. However, some are finding out at the hospital.
“Some patients are coming in with symptoms, shortness of breath, weakness, pneumonia, things like that, and really don’t know it’s COVID,” Swift said. “They just know that they need emergency care. And then as they’re going through the multiple tests to see what’s causing their illness, they are testing positive for COVID.”
Swift said COVID-19 can still cause mild to severe cases.
“If they’re being admitted, they’re sick enough to be admitted,” Swift said. “I believe we have five who are actually in the intensive care, two on ventilators as of this morning, and that varies. “
Symptoms aren’t specific to one variant, but Swift said studies are still being done to show if variants of Omicron will be the next dominant strain. There is expected to be a newer vaccine coming out this fall.
“We’re awaiting those recommendations from [Center of Disease Control and Prevention] CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices,” Swift said. “It looks like it’s going to have that Omicron lineage in it. So we expect that around fall. We don’t know.”
The CDC also recommended an updated Bivalent COVID-19 booster earlier this year in April. Swift said she recommends getting that vaccine if you haven’t yet.
She said it’s still early to know if the cases will keep rising.
“It’s really hard to say if we’re going to be double the cases next week or are we going to go back down to eight or nine cases,” Swift said. “It’s really hard to predict what’s happening, but we’re still keeping a close eye on it.”
Swift recommends people keep using preventative measures like staying home if they are sick. She said if you are exposed to COVID-19, do not test until day five or six unless you start having symptoms sooner.