HOUSTON — It’s been one week since the first case of the omicron variant was detected in the Houston area. Now it makes up 15% of positive COVID cases at Houston Methodist.
Dr. Wesley Long expects that number to grow.
“I think there will be a point where we will see a very rapid increase similar to what we’ve seen in the UK, Europe and South Africa,” said Long, with Houston Methodist.
The Houston Health Department said Monday the omicron variant has now been found in 25 of the city's 39 wastewater treatment plants.
New data released by the CDC shows who omicron is impacting.
Of 43 cases reported the first week of December:
- 58% were young people between 18 and 39 years old.
- 79% were vaccinated, including 14 people who received a booster dose.
- 16% had been infected with COVID-19 before.
- 33% had traveled internationally
- 1 person, who is vaccinated, was hospitalized
“Since its only been circulating in the U.S. for a couple weeks and we’re just starting to detect it, severe outcomes still may be coming down the road in two, three, or four weeks for some of these patients that are infected,” Dr. Long said.
He says even if omicron is milder than the Delta variant, it seems to be more contagious. He warns the combination of both variants plus the flu could lead to a tough winter in the Houston area.
Health officials say getting vaccinated against the flu and COVID, and getting a booster shot when eligible, is the best way to protect yourself from getting seriously sick.