SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Local doctors say the fact that Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held outside makes it a low-risk event when it comes to COVID-19.
“I think there will be a small increase in cases that come as a consequence of gathering in large numbers, where we don’t know folks’ health status, their vaccination status, but I don’t think it will be a surge that really, you know, challenges and threatens to overwhelm our health systems, locally,” says Memorial Health’s Associate Medical Director, Dr. Stephen Thacker.
He says in addition to a local vaccination rate of 55% many residents have natural immunity to COVID after getting infected during the omicron surge.
“Those two things combined I think create a different outcome following large events of gathering,” Thacker said.
But after the parade, many people celebrate into the weekend, often inside local bars and restaurants. Thacker says that could be a problem for high-risk individuals.
“If anyone was out and about indoors with large with large groups, while masking is not mandated necessarily anymore, if you’re someone who’s high risk of a bad outcome if they get COVID-19, masking is still a very effective and appropriate way to help keep yourself protected,” Thacker said.
Thacker also touched on a new COVID variant known as “stealth omicron” which is 30% more infectious, but doesn’t appear to be more harmful.
“It’s definitely something to keep and eye on, because if it can out-compete the other omicron virus then it can become more common in the area,” Thacker said.
Though he says since we’re just now recovering from the omicron surge, it’s less likely to make a big impact here, because of natural immunity and vaccinations.
Thacker says there’s another new variant called deltacron that’s a combination of stealth omicron and the delta variant.
However, he says right now health officials aren’t that concerned, because there are fewer than 10 cases across the U.S.