County seeing surge in COVID-19 cases as omicron variant spreads

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

January 12, 2022

Local officials report that Hill County is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases as the state is dealing with the rapidly spreading omicron variant.

The Department of State Health Services COVID-19 tracker was estimating 307 active cases of the virus in the county as of Sunday, January 9, up from 157 a week earlier. Bosque County’s count was listed at 214 Sunday.

There were 9,872 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Texas as of Sunday. In Trauma Service Area M—which includes Hill, Bosque, McLennan, Limestone and Falls counties—there were 107 patients hospitalized with the virus as the week began.

The record for hospitalizations in Texas was set on January 11, 2021, when 14,218 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.

With the more contagious omicron variant spreading and numbers climbing exponentially each week, hospitalizations of Texans with COVID are likely to follow the national trend and surpass previous levels before they start to decline, Anass Bouchnita, a researcher at the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, told The Texas Tribune last week.
The number of Texans testing positive for the virus each day is at an all-time high in the state, reaching a seven-day average of almost 44,000 confirmed cases on Friday.

The Texas Tribune reported that the seven-day average of new confirmed cases during the peak of the delta surge back in September was over 15,000.

Free testing is still being offered in Hill County in a new location. The testing site at the Hill County Fairgrounds closed December 31 and reopened at the former Hillsboro Elementary School building on Jane Lane in Hillsboro, across from Hill Regional Hospital.

The site offers drive-thru testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says that the omicron variant now accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the nation and state, but most people who test positive will not know what variant they have contracted. Due to the volume of COVID-19 cases, genomic sequencing is not performed on all viral samples.

With the omicron variant now spreading so widely, DSHS says that it is a strong likelihood that a positive test result indicates infection with the omicron variant.

In a statement last week, DSHS said that full vaccination and boosters still significantly reduce the chance of severe illness, hospitalization and death from omicron.

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