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Douglas County Health Department discusses post-Christmas COVID spike

Posted at 10:49 AM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 11:54:11-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Over the past week, Douglas County has seen daily COVID-19 case numbers go from around 500, to nearly 800, to over 1,000 positive cases a day.

“This is probably the post-Christmas spike," said Phil Rooney, resource specialist with the Douglas County Health Department. "With people having traveled and people getting together and people being out and about. Lots of indoor activities that would contribute to it.”

Rooney says a lot more people are getting tested lately.

“People are aware that COVID is surging," Rooney said. "They’re getting ready to travel and get together with friends, so they were trying to make sure they were safe. Everyone is very much aware of the omicron variant out there, so that gives people another reason to go get tested.”

The tests are documenting the spread of the disease. Omicron is here, but Omaha only has around 30 cases.

So why aren’t we seeing many cases of the strand?

Rooney says not every test is looked at and it takes time.

“Somebody’s test has to come back positive, and they have to send it out again for sequencing and hope there’s enough to work with," Rooney said.

He’s expecting more omicron cases to be discovered. Though this strand is less severe for most, a fragile hospital system is concerning as cases have began to rise again.

“They’ve been working for almost two years, trying treat people with this particular disease," Rooney said. "There’s also RSV out there, the flu is starting to make its presence very much known. And its the time of year where you’re going to have accidents, you might have people slipping and falling.”

Rooney said that getting vaccinated is one important way to help hospitals to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Right now, only 63% of the county's population is vaccinated.

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