CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A new variant of COVID-19 has doctors across the nation on alert, with hospitalization numbers in Nueces County steadily increasing.
BA.5 is being dubbed by many experts as the worst version of the Omicron variant yet. It has proven to be more resistant to vaccines than its predecessors, and is driving up transmission rates across the country.
The Center for Disease Control said BA.5 now accounts for nearly 54% of COVID-19 cases in the United States. It is also likely the most highly contagious virus the Coastal Bend has seen of the COVID-19 family so far.
In each county the CDC measures what they call "COVID-19 community levels." It takes into account factors such as hospital admissions and new cases.
Hospital numbers in Nueces County are going up, with the number of patients going from 57 on July. 1, to 89 on Tuesday, along with more severe symptoms.
3NEWS spoke with Dr. Kim Onufrak with the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District about the new variant. She said that now more than ever, it is important that residents get vaccinated.
"Working in clinics, working in the ER, the majority of the cases that are coming in are people who are unvaccinated or they are not up-to-date," Onufrak said. "So even though you might have your two primary doses, if you’re not up-to-date with your booster or even your second booster, you’re more susceptible to getting this.”
In addition, Onufrak recommends that residents wear a face mask if they plan to be in public spaces. A recommendation she said is not just for those who are immunocompromised.
More from 3News on KIIITV.com:
- Corpus Christi native Jose Treviño is now a Major League All-Star
- Report: Corpus Christi named 2nd sweatiest city in U.S.
- Refugio County Sheriff receives medical treatment after accidently discharging his firearm
- CCPD investigates gun-related violence in Corpus Christi
- 'Burn them now': John Oliver wants to give Mission-Aransas Reserve $10K for their creepy beach dolls
- Christus Spohn Shoreline reopens COVID floor following increase in cases
- KIII joins media coalition seeking greater transparency from Uvalde city officials
Want to send us a news tip?
Put your name and contact information below so we can get in touch with you about your story should we have questions or need more information. We realize some stories are sensitive in nature. Let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.
If you do not have a photo/video to submit, just click "OK" to skip that prompt.