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Health officials expect omicron surge in first weeks of January

Dr. Salim Surani joined First Edition to discuss rising hospitalizations and how to protect yourself during the holiday season.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As Nueces County health officials wait for confirmation that the omicron variant has been found in the area, Dr. Salim Surani said we should act as if it is already here. 

"It's not the question if its the question when, and my gut feeling is that it is already here," Surani said.

The official number of positive tests in Nueces County have been over 100 for the past two days, but Surani said that number could be much higher due to people not getting tested due to milder symptoms. However, hospitalizations have been rising.

"We have seen the number of patients getting admitted with COVID in the hospital increase but it is much lower compared to delta, but again we haven't seen the surge," Surani said. "We always run a couple of weeks behind Houston, so we do expect some surge going on in the first and second week of January in the Coastal Bend"

If you decide to do an at-home test and it comes back positive, Surani said it is most likely omicron. 

"If you are having milder symptoms, you are having something like runny nose or scratchy throat and you are positive, more than likely you have omicron because it is the most prevalent variant in the nation," Surani said. "The good thing is it's a much milder variant compared to the other one but its much more infectious than the previous variants."

Even though omicron seems to have milder symptoms, health experts still urge everyone to get vaccinated and take precautions if celebrating the holidays with others. 

"If you are gathering indoors, make sure everyone is vaccinated," Surani said.

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