CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County may be seeing the beginning of a COVID-19 surge due to the omicron variant, health officials said Thursday.
"Just through our testing site alone, we probably had about a 11.1% jump in positivity rate, so that is pretty high compared to where we were at last week," Dr. Kim Onufrak with the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District said.
Onufrak said with home testing kits being so popular, the actual positivity rate may not be easy to calculate.
"It's also probably higher, too, because there's lots of people doing home testing and we do not get those results," Onufrak said.
Omicron is thought to be behind the rise in cases.
"What we do know is that we do see a jump in cases," Onufrak said. "We were starting to go down, but with omicron, I think its here."
The health district has been sending positive tests to be sequenced, but no results have come back yet.
With the surge starting just before many plan to gather for the holidays, a change in plans may be best if you are feeling sick.
"The cases are surging right now and that is a concern," Onufrak said. "So with your family gatherings, the biggest thing is if you are sick or showing symptoms, you probably shouldn't go or you probably shouldn't host a family gathering."
Cases are expected to continue to rise over the coming weeks.
"We are just starting to see our increase in cases, usually we lag behind by a few weeks," Onufrak said. "So, we really wont know the true picture of how it's going to affect us here in the Coastal Bend probably for another three to four weeks"
Though this is a new variant, health officials stress that the prevention measures are still the same that we are used to, including getting the vaccine or a booster shot.
"Unfortunately, we are seeing that the two vaccine series with mRNA or the one with Johnson and Johnson, the effectiveness does decrease with omicron, so that's why we are advising everybody to get their boosters if they haven't yet already because that does bring the effectiveness back up to 80 percent," Onufrak said.
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