AUSTIN, Texas – Omicron positive cases have reached at least 18 states since it was discovered in California a week ago and is now in Texas. A handful of those who tested positive had no travel history, suggesting a spread in the community.
Health experts say it is only a matter of time before it spreads to all states.
What you need to know
- The Omicron variant has spread to at least 17 US states since the first week of December
- Many of the positive cases in the US have been people who have been vaccinated or boosted
- Texas has a vaccination rate close to 60%, about the same as the national percentage
- Doctors say Omicron is more contagious and Texans need to be extra careful
The Texas medical community is vigilant about this new variant. Dr. Guadalupe Zamora says omicron is a serious problem. His family practice in East Austin began seeing patients in the parking lot even before the Delta outbreak this summer. He says if we don’t act now, Omicron could be just as bad or worse.
“We worry because it’s very contagious. It spreads very quickly from person to person, ”said Dr. Zamora.
Since the Omicron was discovered in the United States, according to Dr. Zamora more patients have come to be tested. He says it’s too early to tell if it makes you sicker, but the same rules apply.
“We’re still going to ask people to be very, very careful and use CDC guidelines as best they can,” he said.
This means that you should adhere to CDC guidelines and get vaccinated or boostered. CDC numbers show that nearly 60% of the US is vaccinated. It’s roughly the same percentage in Texas. In many Omicron cases in the US, those who tested positive were vaccinated, boosted, and had very mild cases.
Dr. Zamora says it’s important that people understand that the booster and vaccines are the reason these cases have been mild, but that doesn’t mean Omicron isn’t a virulent variant.
Dr. Guadalupe Zamora goes to reception. (Spectrum News 1 / Jamil Donith)
“I know this is the holiday season, we want to see our families, but please be careful,” he said.
Dr. Zamora says if you meet someone who isn’t vaccinated, get them tested first. In his office, staff will continue to have a strict closed door policy and treat people with possible infections in the open air.
“It will keep our building, our staff and our patients healthy,” said Dr. Zamora.
With no masking or vaccination requirements, doctors like Zamora are doing everything in their power to protect the community from this new threat.
He says these variants are yet to come. It is up to us to be prepared when they do.