Columbia County Administration and Health and Human Services buildings

The Columbia County office buildings in Portage--Health and Human Services on the left, and the Columbia County Administration building on the right.

Columbia County Health and Human Services released updated COVID-19 data on Jan. 6, showing a "very high" activity level, "high" percent of positive tests, and "high" level of community transmission.

The new figures, as of Jan. 5, showed 9,899 total confirmed positive test results reported in the county, with 502 reported since Dec. 29, 2021. At the moment, County Health has reported 931 active cases since the end of December.

The report also showed that 10 more COVID patients have been hospitalized since Dec. 29 (524 total since the beginning of the pandemic). In the most recent reporting period, County Health has received no reports of deaths among COVID-positive patients, leaving the total at 89 COVID-related deaths since reporting started in the county.

Relatively fewer deaths amid the recent spread of the fast-moving Omicron variant of the COVID virus has been attributed by health officials in part to the success of vaccines and boosters, which though not fully preventing transmission of new variants, have been shown to limit the severity of symptoms.

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci announced on Jan. 5 that early preliminary data from multiple studies have suggested that although the Omicron variant is more transmissible than previous versions of the virus, symptoms also appear to be less severe.

Fauci did also point out that those results are preliminary and that more research is needed, particularly in terms of full recovery and potential long-term results.

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