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State health department confirms more omicron cases in Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. The state’s health department has confirmed 13 Missourians have tested positive for omicrons, but the number of wastewater samples containing this variant is rapidly increasing.

About 2,000 people have been hospitalized with COVID, and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) says it’s only a matter of time before that number rises, as researchers find more omicrons in samples from researchers. wastewater treatment plant, the number of cases is also expected to increase.

“Some hospitals are exceeding the number of COVID patients they have at any other peak,” said Dave Dillon, Missouri Hospital Association. “The number of active Missourians continues to grow.”

Over the past week, Missouri has reported more than 18,000 new COVID cases, an average of 2,583 a day.

“I am expecting it to continue,” said lead researcher at Mizzou, who is studying and testing wastewater for COVID. “Delta may not be gone completely but things are going, I’m clear the omicron will become the dominant lineage within a month or so.”

Earlier this month, a resident of St. Louis was the first to test positive for omicrons. As of Monday, there are 13 cases in the state.

“I’m expecting we’ll set an all-time record again in cases,” Johnson said. “For the unvaccinated, it’s still a virus that can kill you, and it’s going to be very contagious over the next few weeks in Missouri.”

Johnson’s lab is one of the only in the state to test for COVID in wastewater. He said he is starting to find more samples containing omicron

“Most of the sites that turned positive were about 20 miles from Interstate 70,” says Johnson.

For months, he said, scientists at Mizzou had found delta variation in nearly every wastewater sample, coming from all parts of the state.

“New York, UK [United Kingdom], South Africa, most of the places that are ahead of us in this Omicron curve have set an all-time case record since the beginning of the pandemic,” Johnson said. “This is the highest they have ever seen. I have no reason to think it would be different in Missouri. “

The omicron variant is rapidly spreading across the state, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said Monday. Of 57 samples collected last week, more than 55% showed evidence of this variation in communities across the state, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Branson and Joplin.

The Missouri Department of Resources provides wastewater treatment facilities with kits, boxes, bags, and tubes for the laboratory to test samples. Johnson said when they received the data; within a few hours, they upload the information to DHSS, which then forwards it to local health departments.

Johnson says his lab in Mizzou collects about 200 wastewater samples weekly.

“Given what we know about this disease, given what we know about the science of treating this disease, it will probably be very difficult in early 2022,” said Dillon. “I foresee that we can. will see another peak and it will be at least as high as before or possibly higher.”

Dillon said some healthcare providers are looking elsewhere for patients due to the growing number of patients being hospitalized.

“Kansas City is now refering patients to other places as their capacity begins to run out,” Dillon said. “We’re still around two-thirds of the previous high in hospitalizations.”

Hospitals are concerned about the rising number of cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks.

“As hard as it is going on vacation, it’s hard to imagine that we’re in a worse place than we were before,” Dillon said.

Due to the holidays, hospitals across the country have two extra days to upload their data, he said, so there’s a delay in the system right now, which means it won’t be until next year for the state to get the pictures, he said. more precisely how the virus is affecting hospitals.

Another issue, Dillon said, is personnel. Hospitals have adequate supplies and PPE, but nurses, doctors and other health care providers are entering their second year of pandemic response.

“They are very tired, some have left the profession, it is very difficult to get staff,” Dillon said.

In a previous interview, Dillon said healthcare providers statewide are using payroll agencies to get enough staff.

Currently, 53% of the Missouri population is fully immunized and more than a million booster shots have been administered.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/state-health-department-confirms-more-omicron-cases-in-missouri/ State health department confirms more omicron cases in Missouri

Huynh Nguyen

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