North Texas Health Officials Watch Omicron Variant With Caution and Concern

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Four cases of the new highly transmissible omicron variant have been confirmed in North Texas. And overall, cases of COVID-19 are once again beginning to climb.

“We're gradually going the wrong way as far as metrics,” said DFW Hospital Council President and CEO Stephen Love.

Love said physicians are watching the situation with caution and concern.

Over the last couple of weeks, cases in Dallas County rose 25%. And hospitalizations, which historically have lagged, are also on the rise.

“Christmas is a week and a half away. So when you take that, throw in omicron, we're just being super cautious telling people don't let your guard down,” said Love.

Without changes to current distancing and masking practices, forecasters at U.T. Southwestern predict the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized will climb, once again topping 1,000 in Dallas County alone early in the new year.

While they say there's still more to learn about omicron's impact, researchers believe the variant's already spreading locally.

Local labs like Gene I.Q. are preparing for an influx in COVID-19 tests in the weeks to come.

Scientists are learning more from early omicron outbreaks like the one that closed a Cornell University campus in New York.

Reports suggest omicron could be responsible for more breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated.

Still, the government urged Americans Wednesday to get vaccinated and boosted to prevent serious illness.

“If we didn't have these tools, I would be telling you to really, really be worried. But we have tools,” said Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

In addition to vaccines, North Texas health experts urge that precautions like masking and distancing remain crucial as this next pandemic challenge arrives.

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