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The Next COVID Surge Is Likely Coming Soon; Are You Prepared?

A surge in COVID-19 cases is coming to the United States this fall. That much is all but guaranteed.

But good luck predicting exactly what that surge will look like.

The World Health Organization is reportedly monitoring at least 300 post-BA.5 subvariants of the virus, with ever-confusing, alphabet-soup designations such as BF.7, BQ.1.1., and XBB. (Almost makes the days of delta and omicron seem quaint.)

Nobody knows for sure which of these could become the dominant strains in America, exactly how virulent they’ll be, or how evasive they’ll be against the latest vaccine boosters. There are definitely more questions than answers at this point.

As evolutionary biologist Shay Fleishon tweeted earlier this month: “Something is happening, much weirder than before. And we still don’t know what it means.”

Despite the uncertainty, we know this much for sure: Cases are rising in other parts of the world right now. A recent article in the Guardian cited a 37% rise in hospitalizations in Britain over the course of a week. Meanwhile, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control recently reported that 15 countries are reporting increasing cases, with the highest new infection rates in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, and Liechtenstein. 

“This is to be expected, as the weather cools in the northern hemisphere and people spend more time together inside,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Oct. 13. “Given the current situation, we expect continued transmission of the virus, and we expect reported cases of COVID-19 to increase.”

The good news, for now, is that reported cases in America have dropped by 70% since July. But over the course of the pandemic, upticks in Europe have typically been followed by similar surges in America. It’d be short-sighted to dismiss that trend now, especially with the elimination of so many COVID mitigation efforts.

But how do you adequately prepare for a surge when there is still so much we don’t know?

There’s no perfect solution, but aligning yourself with an experienced partner that’s well-equipped to scale and manage disease case investigation and COVID contact tracing can go a long way toward minimizing the threat of the virus.

PubSEG has seen firsthand the disruptions that rapid rises in cases can cause. Admittedly, we were not as prepared for January’s omicron surge as we would have liked, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. We simply didn’t have the technical capabilities to handle a sudden caseload of that size with maximum efficiency.

Nearly a year later, we’re in a much better position to handle our clients’ disease-case investigation needs—whatever those needs may be. The new, highly customizable PubSEG Portal allows us to perform our jobs much quicker and more efficiently. From contact tracing to vaccine and booster verification to symptom monitoring to test result storage to daily health screenings to secure messaging to reporting and alerts, the portal offers multiple tools for helping our clients quickly scale and manage their disease case investigations, even amidst sudden surges.

“Last year, we were caught off guard a little by the surge in January. This year, we are much better prepared,” says Senior VP of Operations Dawn Stolte. “The portal allows us to handle many more cases in the event of a surge, without having to increase staffing.”

Last year at this time, for example, PubSEG did not have the ability to store and verify vaccine records for our clients.

“The portal is extremely intuitive,” Dawn says. “Every client we work with has different guidelines, and we’re able to customize the portal to meet those guidelines.”  

PubSEG’s services benefit a wide range of clients, including colleges and universities, school districts, municipalities, public health departments, and private businesses. Each of those organizations has different disease management needs, and the portal makes it easier to accommodate those needs, even in the face of rapidly rising cases.

“With the knowledge we’ve obtained comes more power to provide for our clients, and a greater ability to be more flexible,” says Director of Client Onboarding Ira Lawson. “We feel like we’re extremely equipped to handle another surge. It will just be like our normal daily operations, as we hope it is for our clients via the work we do for them.”

Even if you don’t need us now, we’re able to help you put a program in place for down the road. By preparing a program in advance, we’re ready to go the moment we’re needed. We can also quickly scale up or down as case numbers rise or fall.

If you’d like to learn more about how PubSEG can help you prepare for the next surge, give us a call at 856-240-8117 or email contact@pubseg.com. We’re always ready to help you navigate whatever disease management challenges lie ahead.