HOUSTON – Houston Methodist has identified eight cases of the omicron variant through its comprehensive virus genome sequencing surveillance project, a spokesperson for the hospital said.
Experts are now concerned omicron may be more infectious than the highly contagious delta variant, according to S. Wesley Long, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.
Researchers can now study omicron cases to determine the variant’s transmissibility and severity, as well as how the vaccines will fight it.
“We’re in a race against the variants,” Long said. “To stop the COVID-19 virus dead in its tracks, we can’t stress enough how critically important it is for everyone in the community to get completely vaccinated as soon as possible. Remember, this includes boosters or a third shot if you are eligible. Continue to take extra precautions in the meantime, such as wearing masks, socially distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and if you feel sick, self-isolating until you can be tested for COVID-19.”
A northwest Houston woman with no recent travel history was the first person in Texas to test positive for the omicron variant on Monday, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.