Abington set another record Thursday for active COVID-19 cases, but the town’s top health official says this may be the peak of the omicrom-caused wave.
As of Thursday evening, there were 662 known COVID cases in Abington. The number stood at 122 one month ago.
[UPDATE: The active case count fell to 561 in Jan. 14]
Public Health Director Marty Golightly told the Board of Health Monday night he felt those numbers would peak in mid-January.
“I don’t think it will be any sooner than that,” he said.
One proof point he referenced during the board of health meeting and again during an interview Thursday, is ongoing wastewater testing by the MWRA. The amount of virus found in Greater Boston wastewater streams has become a reliable future indicator of whether COVID cases were on the upswing or downswing. Testing showed a massive spike in viral load starting in December just as the omicron wave hit; those test numbers have started to recede over the past week.
Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist at South Shore Health, told ABC News Thursday that people should avoid feeling that contracting this more contagious form of COVID was inevitable and dropping their guard. Although it appears omicron infections result in milder symptoms for many, especially those who are fully vaccinated, there’s no guarantee.
“We don’t know those who are going to get mildly ill versus those who are going to have a severe illness ” she said. “Take the precautions. Try not to get COVID.
“Just because it’s mild, we don’t want people to disregard the significance of getting COVID. “
Although a smaller percentage of positive cases require hospitalization, hospital beds are filling fast due to the sheer number of cases. Hospitalization figures tend to lag behind case statistics.
“I’m still very worried about the strain on the healthcare system over the next month or two,” Golightly told Abington News. “We’re pushing a system on the edge to its limit and I would not be surprised to hear of field hospitals or surge staffing.”
Those who are fully vaccinated make up 15 percent of the positive cases.