The following is quoted from a press release received today from Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors:
As of this morning, the Columbia County Department of Health reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 this week, continuing the pace seen by the DOH in recent weeks.
County DOH Director Victoria McGahan said it appears that 75 percent of new COVID-19 cases appearing in the Northeast can be traced to the new XBB1.5 variant. "It seems to be highly transmissible," she said.
"We think this variant could be more immune-evasive. If you didn't get the bivalent booster and you haven't had an active COVID infection since about July 2022, then your protection from this variant in particular is probably not as strong as it could be. What they're saying is that this variant binds tightly to the ACE2 mutation of the Omicron variant," said Director McGahan.
As for the flu, Director McGahan said that currently the county seems to be "declining to a more normal place for this time of year. That is encouraging."
This press release was the first clue that Jack Mabb has retired as director of the CCDOH and has been replaced by Victoria McGahan, who has served as a public health educator for the CCDOH.