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How Houston hospitals are testing for omicron variant

The first case of the Omicron variant in Texas was confirmed today in Harris County, Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
Credit: KHOU 11

HOUSTON — The experts said it was just a matter of time, and they were right. The omicron variant is now in Texas.

The first case was confirmed Monday in Harris County, Judge Lina Hidalgo said. The woman in her 40s hasn't traveled recently in lives in northwest Harris County.

Researchers and doctors across the Houston area have been actively searching for the variant here so health officials could act quickly once it arrived.

RELATED: Harris County reports Texas' first case of omicron variant

Houston Methodist, Texas Children's Hospital and UTMB are some of the local hospitals performing genome sequencing in positive cases to identify the type of variant. 

In addition to genome sequencing tests, the Houston Health Department is actively searching for traces of the omicron variant in our wastewater.

Omicron in Louisiana

Our neighbors in Louisiana also report their first case of the omicron variant. 

It happened on a Norwegian cruise ship that docked this weekend in New Orleans. Seventeen passengers and crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. One crew member likely has the omicron variant. The cruise line says all passengers were vaccinated and are asymptomatic.

Not as severe?

In some promising news, Dr. Anthony Fauci says early indications from reports in South Africa suggest it may be less dangerous that Delta. But he stressed it's too soon to know for sure.

“We’ve really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it's less severe or doesn’t cause any severe illness comparable to Delta,” Dr. Fauci said.

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