Jan 20, 2022 - COVID

Omicron shows signs of relenting in Charlotte

Photo: Andy Weber

COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County are starting to plateau.

What’s happening: The Charlotte area hasn’t “turned a corner like some parts of the country have in seeing a true decline as of yet,” Dr. Katie Passaretti, vice president and enterprise chief epidemiologist for Atrium Health said during her media availability Jan. 20.

  • But Mecklenburg County’s case count is slowing down, and Passaretti is hopeful the area will soon mirror declines in other parts of the country.
  • What the area is experiencing is consistent with trends most areas have seen with the Omicron variant: it peaks faster than other variants and then comes down, Passaretti said.

Between the lines: The Omicron surge hit during cold and flu season, making it difficult for people to tell if they have one or the other.

  • Differentiating between a cold vs. COVID-19 has been a battle throughout the pandemic, Passaretti said.
  • Loss of taste and smell were typical symptoms of past variants, helping people determine which they had.
  • But with Omicron, that happens less often, she said.

Passaretti advised high-risk individuals with progressing symptoms, or those who live with high-risk individuals to err on the side of getting tested.

  • “That has implications for either potential treatment or management in your home,” she said, acknowledging testing can be hard to find.
  • For those who are young and healthy, she said the option of staying home until you feel better is there, but she emphasized staying home and not exposing anyone else.

Big picture: It’s been almost two years since the world shut down, and many are sick of restrictions, precautions and masks. Some have yet to get vaccinated. Others are vaccinated and boosted, wore masks, kept their distance — and still got COVID-19.

  • “It’s frustrating that we’re still here fighting this fight, but the good news is doing those things does still have impact,” Passerati said.
  • Getting vaccinated and boosted protects you from ending up in the hospital severely ill.
  • Wearing a mask and staying home if you’re sick protects those around you, she said.

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