Health professionals say Delta variant making people sicker faster

ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta Emergency Room Medical Director says the Delta variant is making people much sicker faster than the original COVID-19 virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring the Delta variant and several others as hospitals see their highest COVID-19 patient numbers since last winter.

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Andrea McLaughlin is vaccinated, but is being extra careful with the highly transmissible Delta variant circulating.

“I don’t come out unless I have to. I always double mask,” she told Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge.

Dr. Douglas Olson, Medical Director of the ER at Northside Hospital Forsyth says symptoms of the original virus and the Delta variant are very similar.

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Dr. Olson says the difference is the timing of the onset of symptoms and the timing of the severity of it.

“So with the initial virus, early on, typically seven to ten days, was the time period where we’d see the more severe pulmonary component. Right now we’re seeing patients are sometimes coming in three to five days,” he said.

Dr. Olson says the variant is highly infectious and that is why they are seeing some breakthrough cases, but he stresses that the vast majority of the people needing to be admitted to the hospital are not vaccinated.

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“The bottom line is to get vaccinated. We’re not out of this by any means,” he said.

Dr. Olson is hoping to see cases begin to peak in a couple of weeks, but knows more surges could happen.

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