The bad news is that Washington Parish has a record positivity rate for those being tested for COVID.
The good news is that the latest variant, Omicron, appears to be less severe than the previous varients. It is causing what seems like a severe cold for many people in Washington Parish.
As of January 10, the parish had a 25.6% positivity rate, meaning that one out of every four people being tested for COVID was positive.
Some of those people who have tested positive may not be showing symptoms. Regardless, they are still contagious and can spread COVID. The state Helath Department is advising people who test positive to self-vaccinate.
With the Omicron variant, for the first time a substantial number of people who have been vaccinated are showing signs of being infected. These are called “break-through” infections. Medical experts say that vaccination is preventing Omicron from becoming severe in most cases. The vast majority of individuals who have become severely ill from the latest surge of COVID have not been vaccinated, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
According to the LA Department of Health, 15,054 deaths have occurred in the state since the COVID pandemic began. Of those, 74% were not vaccinated. In addition, LDH states that 78% of all hospitalizations since the pandemic began were not vaccinated. (However, vaccinations were not available for the first year of the pandemic.)
With the Omicron variant being more contagious than any of the previous COVID variants, LDH advises that unvaccinated residents are 5 times more likely to test positive than vaccinated residents, and they are 14 times as likely to die from COVID than unvaccinated residents.
With LDH stating that Omicron is much more contagious than other variants of COVID, these items of advice are offered:
•Get the COVID-19 vaccine, if you haven't already. Vaccines are the best tool to protect us from COVID-19. They slow the transmission of the virus, and provide strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization.
•Get the booster when you're fully eligible. Everyone 18 years and older should get a booster shot 2 months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or 5 months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. Adolescents and teens ages 12 to 17 should also get a booster of Pfizer-BioNTech 5 months after their primary series.
•Continue wearing a mask in indoor public places in areas of high or substantial community transmission.