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Brazos Valley health experts discuss new Omicron variant

Posted at 6:37 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 19:37:05-05

BRYAN, Texas — The Brazos County Health District reported only two residents currently hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Kia Parsi, chief medical officer for St. Joseph Health, said that even with additional patients from across the Brazos Valley region receiving treatment, that number is still in the single digits for his organization.

With the rise of the recent Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading from southern Africa, Parsi said it's important for the hospitals to properly prepare.

“There are multiple factors we’ll have to look at to determine what kinds of capacity needs we’ll have" he stated.

"But we do know that with each of the last three waves we’ve encountered, even though they’ve become larger waves and longer-lasting waves, we have been able to provide the high-quality care that was needed in our community.”

One immediate and pressing issue for local health leaders is the holiday season, with families traveling long distances and visiting in closed spaces with large groups.

“We are expecting to see a spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations among those who are not vaccinated,” said Mary Parrish, Brazos County Health District.

Health experts say that while the vaccine and boosters aren’t a cure for new coronavirus variants, over time, they have proven to give most people the protection they needed against other serious infections.

“Right now, we can’t say that a booster shot will increase your immunity by [a certain, specific] percent," Parrish said. "What we do know for sure though, is that being vaccinated and having your booster is your best bet against the new variant.”

As of Tuesday, nearly 16,000 Brazos County residents have received their COVID-19 booster shots.

COVID-19 booster shots are available for adults 18 and older at many local pharmacies and clinics, as well as the health district offices in Downtown Bryan.

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