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Health officer optimistic

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Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren giving a covid briefing.

February 28, 2022 — Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren delivered an optimistic covid briefing on Friday afternoon, saying that, in spite of a new variant that’s edging its way into the state, he expects to see a significant drop in hospital admissions by the end of March. He may reconsider the county’s universal indoor mask mandate in the next week or so, and he has high hopes for the community health worker model in educating the public as the disease moves towards being an everyday endemic presence in not quite back to normal life. He expects treatments to play a significant role, though presently they are only effective if administered in the first few days of the illness.

The state is moving into what’s called a SMARTER plan for handling the pandemic, starting with shots and masks but including elements of awareness and education too. The current number of people in the county who have died from covid is 123. The mask mandate remains in effect locally because hospitalizations remain high. There was one day last week when county hospitals had ten covid patients, and only one ICU bed and four med surg beds available.

Coren reported that the outbreak in the jail is over, with no new cases in the last two weeks. And the number of infections among students in public schools has dropped to nearly zero, though there have been a few cases among school staff.