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Central Texas seeing another holiday COVID surge

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 11:50:01-05

Central Texans are preparing to welcome in the new year but unfortunately, we’re also welcoming another holiday surge.

“You look at our 7-day average and reported cases as of yesterday it’s the highest average since mid-October,” said Bell County Judge David Blackburn.

Bell County’s active cases more than doubled over the past week from 266 to 555.

“We’re just seeing more patients that are having respiratory symptoms in the outpatient area. Particularly our emergency department. Urgent cares are feeling the same,” said Seton Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Mandy Shaiffer.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District officials said their case count nearly tripled ... from 431 cases to more than 1200.

“The ER is very full with COVID patients right now. Luckily, those are not the super super ill Covid patients like we have had in the past but we are seeing more of what it can do,” said Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest Director of Emergency Medicine Joshua Howser.

Local health workers say they are also saying FAR more flu patients this holiday season.

“You have a sea of patients that are all coming out with similar symptoms. Fever, cough, URI, congestion, sinus infection-type syndromes and it could be one of 50 viruses,” said Howser.

Despite the surge in COVID numbers, hospitalization rates across the area are still manageable at least for now.

“It was a strain on our healthcare system and the nursing staff. I feel like we are in a part of recovery but I feel like if hospitalizations don’t increase to the magnitude they did before then we can recover like everyone else,” said Shaiffer.

Local health workers believe the spike will continue for at least a few more weeks. They are hoping people will socially distance themselves, wear a mask and follow other safety precautions during the New’s Years Holiday.

Local health workers say the omicron variant does not affect smell or taste, so if you have a cold or allergy-like symptoms you still need to get tested.