Upstate doctors discuss new COVID variant, concerns over possible ‘post-holiday’ surge

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Upstate health leaders are warning, if action isn’t taken to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant, they could end up dealing with a major uptick in COVID cases following the holidays.

Dr. Brian Blank has been keeping himself busy, it’s flu season.

“Flu is out there in the Upstate now,” said Dr. Brian Blank with Ember Modern Medicine.

That’s on top of dealing with COVID-19 cases.

“Over the last week or so, there’s been an uptick in cases across the state, a slight one,” Dr. Blank explained.

Just when Dr. Blank said they thought COVID-19 cases were slowing down, state data is starting to show otherwise. He, like a handful of medical professionals, told us they’re apprehensive about what could happen next.

“If we have to deal with both a new COVID surge, plus the normal flu on top of that, it could just be devastating,” Dr. Blank said.

At Bon Secours St. Francis, leaders said they are prepared if more COVID-19 patients start piling in but they’re hoping it’s not a repeat of January 2021.

“It was pretty substantial, last January what we were dealing with and I’m wondering if between Thanksgiving, Christmas, talks of a new variant, if January will bring about another surge,” Dr. Surabhi Gaur with Bon Secours St. Francis said.

A new variant has been detected thousands of miles away but Prisma Health doctors predict it could be here in no time.

“It’s probably already here. If it’s not, then probably a matter of days,” said Dr. Helmut Albrecht with Prisma Health.

Doctors told us now is not the time to panic about this new variant. DHEC said they haven’t identified any cases of it in South Carolina yet.

They urge everyone to be cautious ahead of holiday gatherings and get vaccinated.

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