A new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus has been found in Cobb County, according to Dr. Janet Memark, director of Cobb-Douglas Public Health.
“They may not be more deadly, but they can make you sick enough that you get hospitalized,” Memark said at a virtual vaccination-themed town hall Tuesday evening. “And so if this takes over our county like (Los Angeles) County, we’re going to be in — I mean, just the most dire situation.”
Information shared at Tuesday’s town hall by Memark; her deputy director, Lisa Crossman; and Cobb Board of Commissioners Chair Lisa Cupid included:
♦ The troubled vaccination sign-up website made by Cobb-Douglas Public Health was created at the last-minute, after the department learned the state’s website would not be ready in time;
♦ Cobb-Douglas has administered almost 9,000 doses to date and will prioritize people ready for their second dose;
♦ Only a handful of people in Georgia, and none in Cobb, have suffered a severe allergic reaction after they were vaccinated;
♦ And only a few in Georgia, and none in Cobb, have suffered anaphylaxis from COVID vaccines.
When the state opened appointments to those 65 and older Jan. 11, local health departments were overwhelmed by applicants. A website made by Cobb-Douglas Public Health to streamline the sign-up process went down shortly after its debut — as did the department’s main website — frustrating county residents.
“This was a state system that we were expecting, and it had been delayed, and so we had to put together a scheduling system, to put it out broadly, and obviously we ran into some trouble,” Memark said. “This week we’re actually talking to some providers, to move it to another server altogether and off of the state servers.”
Cobb-Douglas Public Health is currently opening appointment slots every Friday at 5 p.m. Crossman said the department had chosen Friday evenings because the flood of applicants was less likely to crash the system at that time.
Nevertheless, she urged county residents to look elsewhere for the vaccine —first, with their health provider, and second, at a local pharmacy.
“Don’t feel like you need to come through Cobb-Douglas Public Health for that vaccine,” she said.
Memark said the department would prioritize those whom it had given a first dose of the vaccine.
Officials stressed Tuesday the limited supply of vaccines, saying registering for an appointment would get no easier until the federal government boosted its deliveries to the states.