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LDH getting prepared for possible threat of new variant

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 9:53 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Omicron variant is now being detected across the country.

Last week, we told you about the first positive case of the variant in Louisiana, and local hospitals are now on the lookout for its arrival.

“We’ve had our first case here in Louisiana that has been reported,” Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said.

Now that the Omicron variant has been found in Louisiana, the State Health Department says they’re hard at work.

“Even without Omicron, we would likely see some increase in cases over the holiday season, because so many people travel and gather together. And as the weather gets colder, you know, people tend to gather indoors,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

Dr. Cavanaugh said slowing the spread of the virus now will help prevent more and more dangerous variants in the future.

“There are concerns that due to the mutations in Omicron that it could be a very easy spreader, and it could have a high degree of transmissibility,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “We don’t know that for sure yet, it’s still very preliminary. But that is one thing that is concerning folks about this variant.”

She said they are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“Right now our case numbers here in Southwest Louisiana still look good, but there are other parts of the country that we may travel to that are experiencing surges right now. Some of those are due to Delta,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

Dr. Cavanaugh said the best way for you to get ahead of the virus is by getting vaccinated and getting your booster shot, if eligible.

“Vaccination is really our best protection if we’re exposed to the virus to protect us from having a severe case,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

Now, it is too early to tell just how severe the new variant may be.

As of now, all testing types like the Q test and PCR test are easily detecting the Omicron variant, but Cavanaugh said even if it proves to be less dangerous than the Delta variant, it’s still a concern.

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