LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – As the Omicron variant continues to spread, businesses within Troup County are feeling its effects. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, in the last two weeks there have been 1,110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Troup County. That is a 1000% increase from the two weeks prior to that when there were only 111 cases.

The Media Relations Specialist for District 4 Public Health, Hayla Folden, said Omicron is the most contagious variant to evolve yet.

“It’s spreading quickly among vaccinated and unvaccinated people so we’re seeing businesses both large and small experiencing workplace outages,” said Folden.

She said DPH is experiencing a shortage of people as cases have risen and people have had to take more time off. They are trying to offer more COVID-19 testing while encouraging the public to continue getting vaccinated.

“We have staff out, we’re impacted by the staff outages like other businesses are as well so we’re not able to do as much as we would like to do. We’re spread kind of thin,” said Folden.

One small business in LaGrange is experiencing the same challenges as DPH and even had to close its doors over the holiday season.

Local Groundz is a local, family-owned coffee shop that opened in the summer of 2021. Unfortunately, due to staff shortages they closed the last week of December and reopened on January 4, 2022.

Philip Abbott, the Co-Owner of Local Groundz, said his business had to close because they experienced staff shortages as well as, the bakery they receive their baked goods from.

“I think January could still be a challenge from a staffing perspective from COVID and other wellness issues but winter is the season for those types of things,” said Abbott.

Abbott said he hopes cases will decrease again in the next few weeks once the current rise is over and people have gained immunity to the current variant.

DPH will begin offering additional COVID-19 testing in Troup County on Monday’s and Friday’s from 8:30 am- 1 pm. Please visit their website to register.