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New Omicron sub-variant possibly to blame for increased COVID-19 cases in Nueces County

New Omicron sub-variant could be to blame for increased COVID-19 cases in Nueces County
Posted at 9:48 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 23:25:26-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Marcelino Chapa of Corpus Christi lives with his mother who's 90 years old — putting her at an enhanced risk of having bad symptoms if she caught COVID-19.

Increasing numbers of cases once again in Nueces County have him taking extra precautions, so he doesn't get sick and then get her sick.

“That’s why I’m wearing two masks right now," Chapa said.

Assistant Health Director Kim Onufrak says Nueces County is seeing an average of about 150 positive daily cases recently.

And that's not all.

From last week to this week, Onufrak says the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is up to 55 from 44, the number of ICU cases is up to eight from five, and the number of patients requiring a ventilator is up to two from one.

"It’s not as bad as it was, but unfortunately the numbers are starting to climb up,” she said.

Onufrak says the county has not sent off any samples for genetic testing in recent weeks, but she suspects a new sub-variant of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 is present in Nueces County, and is to blame for the increased numbers.

She says it's not as deadly as the Delta variant, but the symptoms appear to be worse than the original Omicron.

"I think from what I’m seeing lately is that it is a little bit more symptomatic when it comes to the upper respiratory," Onufrak said. "People are complaining about extreme sore throat, headaches, body aches, fevers.”

She urges everyone to follow the COVID-19 precautions many of them are growing tired of — wearing masks, avoiding large social gatherings, and keeping your hands clean.

She also encourages everyone to get vaccinated and to get their booster shots.

Chapa and another Corpus Christi resident are taking her words to heart to avoid themselves getting sick or someone else.

“I’ve just been scared of it," Chapa said. "We’ve had some deaths in our family in the beginning on my mom’s side. It was quite a few people.”

"I don’t want to spread it," Kirk Underwood said. "It’s one thing to have it, but then to be a carrier and to give it to somebody else — I would feel guilty. So yes, I will take precautions.”