Valley health officials prepare for local cases of omicron variant

1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago Tuesday, December 07 2021 Dec 7, 2021 December 07, 2021 4:27 PM December 07, 2021 in News - Local

Medical experts in the Valley are waiting to hear of the first omicron COVID-19 variant case in the region after state health officials announced Monday that the variant was identified in Texas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services found the variant in a Harris County woman in her 40s through the state's surveillance method, sequencing, making her the first known case of the mutated virus in the state.

Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez says the variant is on the way, adding that it's not a matter of if the variant will make its way to the Valley, but when.

"We thought with the omicron, people would rush to get vaccinated," Melendez said. "Hasn't been the case. I'm sorry to report that those people that are holding out continue to hold out."

With just two weeks past since Thanksgiving, Melendez says the holiday showed a slight spike in local hospitalizations.

"We did see an increase of about 8% after Thanksgiving," Melendez said. "I think we've increased after Thanksgiving, and we stayed about the same— A couple of people dying every day. The vast majority, 99% unvaccinated. But I do believe that's because of the Thanksgiving spike."

Now, Valley health officials are looking to what the omicron variant may bring.

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