With Christmas fast approaching and omicron sweeping across the nation, we're about to head into a period of data darkness when it comes to an understanding of the spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, just as the Texas Department of State Health Services closed down for Christmas, there were more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 — mostly believed to be the omicron variant. Texas had 10,610 confirmed cases — the most since September. In the first five days of Christmas week, Texas had more than 35,000 new cases.
In Kerr County, tracking the number of cases and hospitalizations will be equally tricky because Peterson Health will not update its numbers until Dec. 27. DSHS says there are 144 active cases, but historically those numbers have lagged behind the real-time situation.
The Centers for Disease Control tells a slightly different story — with just 31 active cases. So, no one seems to know what's going on. If there's some good news, it's that hospitalizations don't appear to be as severe. In Texas, hospitalizations increased but not as rapidly as the delta variant.
However, the CDC issued guidance about healthcare workers.
Healthcare workers with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic can return to work after 7 days with a negative test, and that isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages.
Healthcare workers who have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including a booster, do not need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures.
"As the healthcare community prepares for an anticipated surge in patients due to Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect what we know about infection and exposure in the context of vaccination and booster doses," CDC Director Rochelle Wallensky
said. "Our goal is to keep healthcare personnel and patients safe, and to address and prevent undue burden on our healthcare facilities. Our priority, remains prevention—and I strongly encourage all healthcare personnel to get vaccinated and boosted."