Tampa General Hospital doctor: omicron variant spreads 2-3 times more than previous coronavirus variants

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Just a few weeks ago, the rate of positive coronavirus tests was below five percent in all Tampa Bay area counties. But now, the positivity rate in Pinellas climbed to 19.5 percent in the week ending Christmas Eve. That’s the highest since a spike in August. Hillsborough’s coronavirus positivity rate was 13.6% for the week ending December 28th.

On Tuesday Café (January 4, 2022), Seán Kinane interviewed Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Medical Director of the ER at Tampa General Hospital and Associate Professor at USF Health.

Dr. Wilson said coronavirus test positivity reached 35% at TGH and most cases were the omicron variant. Omicron spreads two to three times more than previous variants, Dr. Wilson said.

Listen to the show here:

Tuesday Cafe: Sean Kinane interviews Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Medical Director of the ER at Tampa General Hospital and Associate Professor at USF Health.

Incoming St. Pete Mayor tests positive

in other COVID-19 news, St. Petersburg’s incoming mayor will take office in an online inauguration ceremony after he tested positive for COVID-19. Ken Welch was scheduled to be sworn in Thursday on the steps of City Hall as St. Pete’s first Black mayor. Welch says he will work from home until he is cleared from isolation. Other inauguration celebrations had already been canceled because of the spike in COVID-19.

Ward of a South Florida hospital is closed

According to the AP, “Officials say a South Florida hospital has temporarily closed its maternity ward due to staff shortages related to recent outbreaks of COVID-19. Mothers-to-be who had planned on giving birth at Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale will have to find another option. Holy Cross spokeswoman Christine Walker says the temporary shutdown of the labor and delivery unit is best for patient safety. The hospital’s neonatal intensive care and post-partum units remain open. Nearby hospitals are taking on patients from Holy Cross. The announcement comes as Florida continues to shatter daily records for new COVID cases, which are most likely fueled by the omicron variant.”

information from the Associated Press was used in this report