Nashville Mayor John Cooper held a live-streamed press conference on Monday to outline Metro’s latest COVID response. Cooper, Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of Metro’s COVID taskforce; Dr. Gill Wright, who directs Nashville’s public health department; and Director and Chief William Swann, of Emergency Management and Nashville Fire Department, all spoke during the conference.
“Cases here are rising quickly, and we know the Omicron variant spreads easily. Even more easily than previous variants,” the mayor said.
Cooper stated the purpose of the press conference was to urge Nashvillians to get the COVID booster shot. “The vaccine and the all-important booster gives us a way to manage the surge and move forward with our lives.”
He continued that while the city’s average is higher than the state’s average, 168,000 residents had received a booster shot. “That number needs to go way up in the coming weeks. Nashville, today is your day to get your booster shot.”
Dr. Jahangir noted that one in every 30 Nashvillians were actively infected with COVID. He continued that current COVID rates are three times higher than they were at the peak of the Delta variant. The COVID taskforce leader said, “One of the big challenges in our area hospitals is staffing.”
“But the thing to remember is this: even though this variant may cause a smaller percentage of infected people to be hospitalized, because of the virus, there are a lot more actively infected people than ever before.”
Nashville Health Department Director Dr. Wright explained that while those who contracted the Omicron variant were less seriously ill, and that it was due to “a combination of previous immunity through infection and vaccination.” He repeated that Omicron is easily transmitted, and recommended residents be vaccinated.
He asked anyone who had been exposed to COVID, showed symptoms, or felt sick, to stay home.
Chief Swann’s discussed the consistency Meharry Medical College provided for COVID testing. “The volumes of our sites have increased greatly, following the holidays, and the spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19. On average, our sites test around 1,600 a day. We also average about 90 vaccines a day.”
Mayor John Cooper’s brother, U.S. Rep Jim Cooper announced Saturday that he was diagnosed with COVID despite being up-to-date with his vaccinations and booster. The congressional Democrat said that his symptoms were “only mild.”
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