Omicron surge putting stress on COVID-19 tracking system

ATLANTA — The omicron variant isn’t only leading to crowded testing sites across the metro area.

It’s also putting stress on the system Georgia uses to track COVID-19 cases.

We don’t know yet how many cases were reported over the New Year’s weekend because “a large amount of data overwhelming the system.”

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Dr. Jose Cordero is a public health professor at the University of Georgia.

“This variant is actually leading to a wave that is actually much bigger,” Cordero said.

He said there could be another month of rising omicron cases which will lead to disruptions but fewer deaths than last year.

“What we’re seeing is more people that test positive, more people that may have symptoms, but the number of people that are getting to the hospital is actually not as large, as we’ve seen with delta,” Cordero said.


Julia Osborne said she had some of the symptoms considered mild when she became infected last month.

“I would not want this again. I don’t care how quickly and mild they say the symptoms are,” Osborne said. “I would just have the shakes really bad, just simply chilled to the bone, like it felt like I was in snow with nothing on.”

She avoided the hospital because she said she’s fully vaccinated.

Now she just hopes she didn’t infect anyone else.

“We have a 15-year-old in the house, and he is showing signs of possibly having COVID.”

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Cases among 5- to 17-year-olds are up 193%, according to the most recent data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Parents are trying to figure out how to prepare themselves and their kids for either in-person or remote learning after the holiday break.

Dr. Ben Leftkove is the founder and CEO of Viral Solutions, which has 18 testing sites across the state, and he’s also a parent.

“Do I think most kids will be able to go to school and be safe? Yeah, I do,” Leftkove said.

He says vaccination is the best protection against ending up in the hospital, and the next best is regular testing before kids go back to school.

“It’s not going to catch everyone, but it doesn’t need to catch everyone. It can catch a significant number of people,” he said.