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Local healthcare leader shares cautious optimism concerning omicron variant

The Chief Medical Officer for Ascension Via Christi says he's "cautiously optimistic" the county has reached its peak with omicron cases and hospitalizations.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 4:51 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As the more infectious, but less deadly omicron variant of COViD-19 continues to spread, there is some hopeful news coming from health professionals.

In Sedgwick County, the chief medical officer for Ascension Via Christi St. Francis hospital said he’s “cautiously optimistic” the county has reached its peak with the omicron variant when it comes to cases and hospitalizations. Dr. Sam Antonios said what he and hospital staff have been seeing over the last week or so makes him believe we’ve reached a peak, or plateau with local COViD-19 cases.

“We actually are starting to see that rate of increase slowdown, which is a good thing,” Dr. Antonios said.

He said staff at St. Francis are still seeing patients in the hospital every day, but not at the rate it was weeks ago.

“In the hospital, we are still at a very high mark and there’s more than the system level, more than 200 patients in the hospital,” Dr. Antonios said.

He said the number of new admissions is slowing after the omicron peak brough the highest increase the hospital has seen during the pandemic.

“if you look at how fast Delta became the dominant variant in the country, it took it about 75 days, so two-and-a-half months before it took over. It only took a month for omicron to be the most prevalent variant in the country,” Dr. Antonios said. “Which means a lot of people were getting sick very fast and at a higher rate.”

While there is positive news, he warns it’s not time to celebrate or stop taking precautions.

“I worry when people hear that I’m being optimistic that things are going to get better from the number of COVID-19 cases that that’s somehow an indicator that we shouldn’t get vaccinated or shouldn’t pay attention. Even now, the numbers are high enough where people should be very careful,” Dr. Antonios said.

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