As we enter a new year, the one thing we haven’t been able to leave behind in 2022 is new COVID-19 infections.
Local doctors are monitoring a new strain, more cases and more hospitalizations across North Texas right now.
The DFW Hospital Council is tracking an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
They want to clarify, it’s just a spike not a surge – most likely attributed to the holidays. It is no where near the level we saw coming out of the holidays last year when the new omicron variant took the nation and Texas by storm.
“We are noticing the positivity rate of infection is increasing. So we think this might continue. It’s probably a result of holiday gatherings. It’s probably a result of people being together. But we’ve got this new variant we’re watching as well. So we want to do everything we can to keep this as low as possible,” said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council.
On Wednesday, the council reported about 980 patients that are hospitalized for COVID-19 in our region right now. Love said that is about a 200 to 250 person increase than just 10 days ago. A majority of them are people are over the of 45.
Doctors say infection rates are inching up too, which is why you might be noticing more people around you either getting sick with COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone who is.
Love said infection numbers are probably understated since a lot of people test at home.
Just last week, Tarrant County raised its covid community level back to high and the health department recommended wearing masks indoors again.
Doctors had said midway through the pandemic that COVID would eventually get to a point where it’s a part of our lives in the same way the flu is. Love said we may have reached that point.
“Many think we’re going to be in an endemic state, where we’re going to have to deal with COVID-19 as we as we do with flu every year,” he said, adding that people need to continue following the same protocols they have for nearly three years, such as wearing masks in large crowds, using hand sanitizer, and staying home when you’re sick. “We know the things that work. And I know we’re tired of it, but we’re just going to have to continue because this is something that’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint.”
As we look toward the coming months, doctors say an omicron subvariant, known as XBB.1.5, is quickly accounting for a large part of cases in the United States. It is the most contagious version of Covid-19 yet, but it doesn’t appear to make people sicker, according to the World Health Organization.
The variant is also starting to account for more and more cases in Texas.
While it is breaking through vaccines, doctors say in most people, it’s not as severe as the original omicron strain.
At the same time, there’s still a lot of people in the hospital for the flu and RSV in North Texas, although not as many when the season started strong in October.
Doctors say they believe the seasons for those illnesses has already peaked and will hopefully start trending down the other direction.