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CRMC’s Etter: New COVID Variants Prevalent, Expect Similar Symptoms

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
CRMC’s Etter: New COVID Variants Prevalent, Expect Similar Symptoms

New COVID-19 variants are showing up nationwide and across the Upper Cumberland.

Cookeville Regional Infection Prevention Manager Stephanie Etter said the symptoms affiliated with these variants are similar to what we’ve seen before.

“Just like flu changes each season a little bit, Covid is doing the same thing,” Etter said. “Fortunately, we’re not seeing severe cases like we saw in 2022, but we are, like I said, seeing an increase in hospitalization.”

With RSV the leading cause of sickness the past few months, Etter said this COVID spike could be followed by a jump in already high flu numbers. Etter said it is common to see a flu spike in January.

“When you look at the COVID numbers and flu, we’re seeing very high numbers of both of those in the community,” Etter said. “Tennessee is actually in the “very high” category, the last tier for flu. Hopefully, within the next two weeks, we’ll see both of those peak and come back down, but that’s just a guess.”

COVID hospitalizations at Cookeville Regional rose sharply the last two weeks, Etter said, an increase of some 60 percent. She said the rise does not come as a major shock, given that people gathered in large groups indoors for the holidays. She said getting vaccinated, avoiding groups, and washing your hands are the best ways to keep yourself safe from the surge.

“It does give us some concern that people with preexisting conditions, lung disease, heart disease, asthma are susceptible to being hospitalized,” Etter said.

Etter said the new COVID-19 vaccine is a one-shot vaccine that covers the whole season. She said it is available at most pharmacies, including the CRMC outpatient pharmacy. Etter said people can still contract COVID with the vaccine, but it is more likely to have very mild symptoms that way.

“Even if it’s not a perfect match, just like with flu, if you do have a vaccine and you have a normal immune system, your body is going to build antibodies against what it is seeing in the vaccine,” Etter said. “Even if you have partial protection from a vaccine, that’s better than no protection.”


The post CRMC’s Etter: New COVID Variants Prevalent, Expect Similar Symptoms appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.