TULSA, Okla. — Have you heard people saying, “I know so many people with COVID right now?”

While the CDC numbers have recently spiked, reaction to more cases isn’t like it used to be.

“I’m really starting to feel back to normal [and] I don’t want to do that again,” said Nicole Nascenzi of Tulsa, who spent months dealing with debilitating long COVID symptoms.

After pulmonary rehabilitation and medication, her symptoms only flare up when she’s fatigued. However, she certainly doesn’t like hearing the Covid uptick coming back into conversation, especially with the emerging Eris variant.

“We don’t know how effective the current vaccine will be or how fast it will spread,” said Nascenzi. “It’s concerning.”

While there isn’t an Eris-specific vaccine, experts are confident the upcoming booster out this Fall will offer some level of protection. And while the CDC hospitalization numbers show a 21.6% increase in hospital admissions nationwide, the numbers are still far from any pandemic-era hospitalizations. The report shows the number of people hospitalized with COVID in Oklahoma stands at 95.

Infectious disease physician Dr. Anuj Malik says he’s seen a slight uptick in COVID patients at Ascension St. John, but mainly outpatient or urgent care. He says the vulnerable groups with compromised immune systems are still the most concerning.

He says some cancer and MS patients have to be particularly careful.

“These poor folks get in trouble,” said Dr. Malik. “Medicines they take are good for the disease but greatly lower their immune systems.

Dr. Malik believes only people in those groups are the main ones to consider masking right now. He urges everyone with symptoms to get tested to prevent giving it to someone else who could be at higher risk.

The CDC recommends staying at home for at least five days if you test positive for COVID and try to separate yourself from others in the house.

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