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Health director provides insight on new Omicron variant, what you need to know

According to Health Director Annette Rodriguez the new variant has a high transmission rate along with a high number of mutations.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With growing concern over the Omicron variant health officials in the Coastal Bend are working to gather more information and prepare. 

According to Health Director Annette Rodriguez the new variant has a high transmission rate along with a high number of mutations. 

"Every time you have a mutation, or you have a change that causes concern because it could evade the vaccine, it could be more severe than the ones we've seen in the past," Rodriguez said. "And of course like know with this one the transmission rate could be super fast." 

Residents are encouraged to practice existing COVID-19 protocols including social distancing, wearing masks, and disinfecting whenever possible. The Nueces County Public Health District is still providing COVID-19 testing, but advises residents to know that even though the test may be positive, doesn't necessarily mean it is the Omicron variant. 

Rodriguez said the health district is sending every positive case they have to the Department of State Health Services to determine what variant it is. The process takes up to two weeks. 

Rodriguez tells 3News the health district has all hands-on deck and she also compares preparing for this variant like preparing for a hurricane saying the community should prepare. One way to do just that is by practicing all safety precautions we've talked about for almost two years and getting vaccinated.

Rodriguez says not only is getting that first and second dose important but especially that booster to have that added protection from this new variant that she says could possibly be coming our way, but Rodriguez says the biggest concern is children

“We know people who have been fully vaccinated and children can get it, we want to encourage you that if you have not gotten your booster or your first dose or your child or you have children and you have not vaccinated them to please take them,” said Rodriguez. “Now is this time to do it, don't wait until we say we have our first case of omicron here in Nueces County.”

Rodriguez emphasizing that because of the many mutations this new variant has it means that it is very adaptable which is why she's urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

Rodriguez says the vaccination rate among children in Nueces County is around 56 percent. If you are looking to get you or your child vaccinated there are plenty of locations across the city and one of those is La Palmera mall. For more locations, click here

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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