Central Texas health officials say it’s too early to weigh in on COVID-19 omicron variant

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on early evidence, but local health officials told News 10 it’s too early to know much about the new COVID-19 variant.

“We don’t know how dangerous it really is, so there’s a lot of unknowns right now,” said Kelly Craine, with the Waco-McLennan County Health District.

Although the variant hasn’t been detected in the United States, travel bans have been put in place for some African countries.

President Joe Biden on Monday said he’ll wait to issue any more travel bans until he knows more about how dangerous the variant is.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, said everyone coming into the country is already getting tested. “Fortunately, the PCR’s that we use already pick up this very unique variant,” said Fauci.

In Central Texas, health officials said they won’t test for the specific variant and that the Texas Department of State Health Services will handle it state wide.

Dr. Marc Elieson with Baylor Scott and White said their care won’t change based on the new variant.

“The variant type doesn’t affect treatment or prognosis,” Elieson said.

He adds that they’ll wait to bring in more resources until they know the variant is a threat to Central Texas.

As they wait to learn more, health officials are all urging the same message: get vaccinated.

“Right now, get vaccinated, if you haven’t gotten your booster yet, get your booster,” Kelly Craine urged.

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