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Lake Charles doctor weighs in on Omicron surge

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:27 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Local doctors weigh in and fear that we may not have even reached the peak of this current surge.

Dr. Dharmesh Patel at Avail Hospital tells us this current surge is not on the decline just yet. He anticipates we won’t see a drop in cases until February.

“I think you’re going to see that peak either this week or the next two weeks,” Dr. Patel said. “We should be back to some sense of normality - hopefully in the beginning part of February. But in the meantime, January. We’re not done with January, and I don’t think omicron is done with us yet.

At Avail, Dr. Patel says they were seeing 20% positivity in COVID-19 cases in previous months, but now, that has doubled. He says roughly 40% of patients’ tests are coming back positive.

Unlike the previous variants, Dr. Patel says omicron has taken more to children and is spreading quicker than before. Local schools are even seeing the effects of COVID’s latest surge.

“And we’re seeing a higher hospitalization with children as opposed to last time,” Dr. Patel said. “And those are the things that we’re keeping a watchful eye - especially with the number of cases especially in Lake Charles.”

Dr. Patel predicts another surge in the summer if things don’t start to slow down, and with that, he recommends getting vaccinated and boosted if you haven’t already. He said it’s important to get tested if you are starting to feel sick so that you can take the right steps to protect those around you from the virus.

For the most accurate read of omicron, Patel said to get PCR tested, as some home tests aren’t successful in detecting this variant.

Avail, as well as other locations, offers PCR testing. For a list of those locations, click HERE.

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