Hospitals nationally and in Georgia are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged states to test for the variant, which has been found in at least five states, including California, New York and Colorado.
“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Katheen E. Toomey. “Even as we begin roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures – wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently.”
DPH had said it would start testing for the variant this week. DPH said in a news release the strain was found during an analysis of a sample sent from a Georgia pharmacy to a commercial lab.
In the U.K., the new variant has put a substantial toll on hospitals. Prime Minister Boris Johnson enacted a third national lockdown in England in response.
A reporter informed Grady Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Jansen about the arrival of the new variant in the middle of an interview.
Jansen already had expressed deep concern about overflowing hospitals and the upward curve of the pandemic in Georgia.
Upon hearing the news, he said, “It’s frightening. When you see what is happening, it is more infectious…you’ll have more people coming to the hospital.”
He repeated a request by Toomey for people to take precautions.
This is a developing story. Return to ajc.com for updates.