COVID-19 week in review

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- In the last two weeks, we have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 numbers.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke says, “Coronavirus is running rampant in our community and much of the United States at my last press briefing we’ve had 3,332 new infections, 3,332 new infection and 30 deaths. This is overwhelming to say and extremely concerning to me and it should be to our entire community.”

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Today, the Hamilton County Health department announced that they will adopt the latest CDC guidance that allows for a reduced quarantine period for people who have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person. The health department says that the Quarantine period can end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or after, and if no symptoms occur during daily monitoring.

In the coming weeks, two coronavirus vaccines will go before the FDA for emergency use authorization review.

Dr. James Sizemore with Erlanger Health says, “There should be widespread availability for the vaccine during the first half of 2021. So, I mean there is an end to this.”

Dr. James Sizemore adds that masks will still be necessary, “I anticipate that we will be masking for a while, even with the introduction of the vaccine. The vaccine is not going to be a mask substitute. It’s going to help things out, but I don’t see masking changing in the short term.”

Pandemic fatigue is also at an all time high.

But Erlanger Health officials are optimistic about the future.

“There’s all sorts of strategies, I do think that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But, I think that really right now what is hurting us the most is the fatigue of having to change our life now for nine months and it’s just very hard to sustain that,” adds Dr. Sizemore.