Child wearing mask getting vaccinated by doctor holding a needle.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – As Tennessee sees a slight increase in case trends of COVID-19, Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercy said many of the cases are clustered in the northeast part of the state and among unvaccinated residents.

There are no reports of the Omicron variant in Tennessee at this time. However, the variant has been detected in 15 to 17 states, including border Missouri.

“Only a matter of time before Omicron is here,” Piercy said.

Piercy said it is unclear how the mutations will manifest.

“Trends we’re seeing, speculation it is more transmissible but makes you less sick. Those are things we don’t know yet but will be learning over the next several weeks,” Piercy said. “Vaccination is still the best protection.”

Piercy said routine variant surveillance means they take a portion of the positive cases and surveillance sequencing for it. The Tennessee Department of Health will announce when the state gets its first case of the variant.

Piercy encourages people to get flu shots and states it is not too late to get one.

“We had a statewide influenza event across the state,” Piercy said.

According to Piercy, the state essentially didn’t have a flu season last year, and health officials are anticipating a flu season this year. Flu shots go down to six months.

The Tennessee Department of Health is at 21.6% of Tennesseans getting flu shots. It’s less than people bringing them in 2019 and 2018.

“I attribute it to the weariness of vaccines,” Piercy said.

 

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