Concerns rise due to spike in COVID-19, new variant cases

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – Hospitals across western Massachusetts and the entire country are seeing more cases of COVID-19 back in their emergency rooms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the uptick in COVID-19 cases could be due to a new omicron subvariant called EG.5.

A new variant of the COVID-19 virus is here and causing case numbers to quickly rise.

The EG.5 Or “Eris” is a subvariant of the omicron variant that peaked back in the winter of 2021.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EG.5 is now responsible for more than 17% of the cases in the United States.

A change in numbers that’s also impacting hospitals across western Massachusetts.

“We do have an increase or a trend in the number of patients who tested positive for COVID-19,” explained Dr. Armando Paez. “Because we do screen those patients whenever they get admitted to the hospital.”

The main concern with this new variant is its ability to evade immunity and its potential for high transmission.

That’s why Chief of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Health, Dr. Armando Paez, is recommending that everyone keep up with their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“There is a plan to do a booster that is being designed and studied, specifically to address the circulating variant,” added Dr. Paez. “However, if somebody or if you are due for your booster, particularly if you are immune compromised or elderly, I recommend to get the booster shot.”

According to data from the CDC, In the last month, COVID-19 related hospitalizations went up 14.3% In the country and visits to the emergency room went up 21.4% from the previous week.

A contrasting change from previous months noticed by Magdalene Eboso, an infection prevention nurse with the trinity health of new England system, which includes mercy medical center.

She told Western Mass News numbers are changing on a daily basis.

“It hasn’t spiked, Perce. But where we went days with not a single patient admitted, we are now seeing that number has gone up,” noted Eboso. “Like, is not unusual every day to see one or two new patients coming in and getting admitted with covid related – or covid hospitalization. Where June, July there was barely any patients.”

While the new EG.5 variant is causing numbers to change daily, both Dr. Paez and Eboso told us this isn’t a reason to get alarmed just yet. Rather, we should take this new variant as a reminder that COVID-19 is still a health risk, and it is up to us to take proper precautions to keep each other safe.

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