'Hang on a little bit longer': Memark says use caution as Cobb reports 10 deaths Tuesday

Shannon Ballew, Marietta Daily Journal, Ga.
·4 min read

Feb. 23—In Cobb County more people are becoming vaccinated and there have steadily been lower numbers of new cases, but Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb-Douglas Public Health, says don't let your guard down.

"I feel like our celebrating is always precarious with COVID-19. It always seems to find a way to make a comeback somehow or another," Memark said in a Cobb County video Monday.

The local health department has received some vaccines that were delayed last week due to weather conditions across the country, and is waiting for notice for more, a Cobb-Douglas Public Health spokesperson told the MDJ.

The delays came after the first time in three weeks the public health department made vaccination appointments available to those eligible. For two weeks in a row, there were no appointments for first doses due to insufficient supply.

"It's very frustrating, I totally understand. We are at the mercy of the federal government as well," Memark said, noting that, under federal guidance, they haven't delayed administering second doses.

Cobb-Douglas Public Health is not the only place people can get vaccines. The department's 26,000 vaccines are less than a quarter of the 118,208 vaccines administered in Cobb, according to the state's vaccine dashboard. This week, the federal government is sending vaccines to pharmacies including Kroger and Walmart, Memark said. And, Georgia recently rolled out four mass vaccination sites in Hapeville, Clarkesville, Macon and Albany. To make an appointment at one of these sites or to be put on a waiting list, visit myvaccinegeorgia.com.

"We definitely have some hope that vaccines are going to be coming in at a brisker pace. It's not going to be right away, but over the next few weeks they have been increasing a little at a time. You can already see in the state of Georgia, we've had some increases in vaccine allotment. The mass sites in different areas will get vaccines," Memark said. "What I really do believe in is we are ready to go when vaccines roll out quicker."

Although overall cases have been declining in Cobb, public health experts are watching the rise of the U.K. variant here, which scientists say is more contagious and could be more lethal, Memark said.

Cobb could also see a spike in cases from the winter break for both Cobb County and Marietta schools last week. The director said many families traveled and went to gatherings during the weeklong break.

"We're hoping it does not have a big impact, but we'll see that in the next week or two if we get a lot of cases from that," she said.

Memark reminded Cobb residents that COVID-19 deaths have remained steady as cases have declined. Tuesday, 10 deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Cobb, and at least 826 people in the county have died of the virus, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Add in "probable deaths" from COVID-19 as defined by Georgia DPH, and Cobb's death toll is 892.

"I know it's been a long time, but we're getting there," she said. "(The vaccines) will open up, but in the meantime I need everybody to hang on a little bit longer. We've got to continue to be able to wear our masks, not gather with a bunch of folks and try to keep your distance. Hoping that warm weather will help, but please don't forget these things and throw caution to the wind, because we're almost there. And like many of you, I don't want to go through another surge, so let's all work together to get to the end here."

Here's a look at Cobb County and state coronavirus numbers reported Tuesday, and how they compare to the day before. All information comes from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

A Cobb-Douglas Public Health report, including data on how the coronavirus is affecting different ZIP codes, genders and ages, is available at reports.mysidewalk.com/17554e75c1#c-452027.

For the Georgia DPH's full report, visit dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report.

National data can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website at cdc.gov.