Protection against the new variant is following safety guidelines

·3 min read

With the recent surge of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus Memorial Health research found that many people are carrying the virus without even knowing they have it.

Lance Millburg, system administrator for Memorial Health Quality and Performance Improvement said one in six people in the area has COVID-19 with no symptoms and the concept of not knowing is frightening.

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“This figure represents a new high-water mark for COVID-19’s spread among people who are free of symptoms,” said Millburg.

“Our research underscores how rapidly the omicron variant is dispersing through our community.”

Dolan Dalpoas, Chief Executive Officer at Lincoln Memorial Hospital, shared his concerns in keeping those living and working in Logan County safe.

“We don’t have intensive care units in Lincoln so with the latest surge we must hold a patient in our emergency room until a bed becomes available,” said Dalpoas.

Lincoln Memorial Hospital, which is located in Region 3 that is currently at 95% full capacity, has taken steps to ease the surge.

“We have placed a temporary pause on elective surgery and are deploying the surgical staff to help in other areas. We need more hands to help in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dalpoas.

The team effort at Lincoln Memorial has been apparent long before the pandemic began.

“While walking rounds, I happen to see an IT guy helping stock supplies in a room. The demand for supplies has increased and everyone is there to help each other,” said Dalpoas.

He did warn that there is some confusion with people thinking they can come get a COVID-19 test at the emergency room.

“This is not the place to do this, because we are not a test center. For those who have serious symptoms then yes, we will treat those who are really sick,” he continued.

Area testing sites graphic gives details on where to get tested for COVID-19.
Area testing sites graphic gives details on where to get tested for COVID-19.

Dr. Raj Govindaiah, senior vice president and chief physician executive for Memorial Health, said to keep in mind the risk when going out in public.

“No one would willingly spread a potentially deadly virus to their loved ones. Yet that’s what some symptom-free people are doing – at an alarming rate – when they carry the COVID-19 virus and don’t regularly wear masks and practice social distancing,” said Govindaiah.

Both Govindaiah and Dalpoas stressed the need for the public to social distance, wear a mask at all times while out in the public and, most importantly, schedule a booster vaccine or the initial vaccination for those who are unvaccinated.

Dalpoas said he was humbled by the commitment and dedication he has seen at LMH while living through the pandemic.

“The staff has provided a great deal of compassion and exemplary care. I have been in awe of their work and I am humbled to work alongside of them,” said Dalpoas.

Logan County has administered more than 34,118 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Jan. 10, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Also numbers show that 51% of people living in Logan County are fully vaccinated, which is a total of 14,704 people.

This article originally appeared on Lincoln Courier: Research shows how the omicron variant is going through a community