As of Friday, Williamson Medical Center was treating 38 patients for COVID-19, a number not seen at the Franklin hospital since Sept. 3 during the height of the Delta variant.
The average age of COVID-19 patients currently being treated at WMC is around 58 years old, with 28 of the 38 patients being unvaccinated for a unvaccinated-patient-rate of nearly 74 percent.
Of the 38 patients, WMC describes five of them as being "critically ill," four of which are unvaccinated. The average age critically-ill patients is around 52.
Other than Meigs County in East Tennessee, which has a population of just under 12,000, Williamson County has the single-highest vaccination rate in the state, with more than 63 percent of the county's almost 250,000 residents being fully vaccinated.
Given the rise of the Omicron variant across the state, as well as the disproportionate numbers of unvaccinated residents being treated for COVID-19, WMC continues to urge the community to consider getting vaccinated.
"Williamson Medical Center has seen a significant increase this week in COVID-19 hospitalizations, with the vast majority of patients in the unvaccinated population," reads a statement from WMC.
"This is expected to continue as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) now warns that the highly contagious Omicron variant has become the dominant strain in the United States. Mounting data on the Omicron variant demonstrates that vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the severe effects of COVID-19."
While breakthrough infections of COVID-19 are possible to those fully vaccinated — and recent data suggesting such cases are more common with the Omicron variant — those who are vaccinated are significantly less likely to end up hospitalized or dead from the virus.
According to data collected by the CDC between Sept. 19-Nov. 20, an unvaccinated person is 10 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 20 times more likely to die from the virus compared to a fully-vaccinated person.
"Though breakthrough infections are possible despite vaccination, protection against severe disease is maintained," WMC writes. "For those who have completed vaccination, receiving a booster dose has shown to provide additional protection, especially for those at higher risk."
New cases of COVID-19 in Williamson County have nearly reached the pandemic's peak back in September. As of Dec. 31, Williamson County had a seven-day new case average of 278 cases. On Sept. 13, Williamson County saw its highest seven-day average of 291, which itself eclipsed the county's last peak on Jan. 8 which saw a 285 seven-day average.
In an effort to help curb the spread of this latest wave of COVID-19, WMC has urged residents, vaccinated or otherwise, to continue to practice safety when around others.
"Williamson Medical Center encourages everyone to continue taking precautions such as wearing masks when traveling and around others indoors, observing social distancing, limiting indoor gatherings, and most importantly, getting vaccinated if you have not already done so," WMC writes.