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State health officials brace for Omicron variant cases

1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, December 01 2021 Dec 1, 2021 December 01, 2021 10:45 PM December 01, 2021 in News - Local

Following the announcement of the first Omicron variant case in the U.S., health officials in Texas and the Valley are watching for the first case in the state.

“We have a very good surveillance system in Texas,” Dr. Emilie Prot, regional medical director for the Texas Department of Health State Services, said. “We’re doing sequencing through the CDC, but also thought the state lab in Austin of different samples.”

Prot says the positive COVID-19 samples are sent to a lab and screened to see if they match the Omicron variant.

“If there’s a positive, you can further sequence that specific sample to see the breakdown of the DNA,” Prot said.

Dr. Sohail Rao, DHR Health research president, says the Omicron variant is as contagious or effective as the Delta variant because it has about 15 to 16 additional mutations.

Health experts say those who haven't received their COVID-19 shot or booster should do so to stay protected.

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