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What you need to know about the COVID-19 Omicron variant

Information and guidance about COVID-19 continues to evolve. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest.

As the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads across our state, here’s what you need to know to keep you and your family safe.

If you are fully vaccinated and boosted, the symptoms of the Omicron variant typically appear milder—but remember, you can still spread the virus to others. The symptoms may feel more like a common cold, including runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat. If you are not fully vaccinated, the symptoms may be more severe.

Why we still need to take COVID-19 seriously

After two years, we’re all ready to get on with life, forget about the COVID-19 pandemic and finally move on. Unfortunately, we’re just not there yet.

Viruses like COVID-19 mutate over time, which is why we’re seeing new variants like Delta and Omicron crop up. These variants tend to be highly contagious and spread faster than the original.

At this point, we could all use a refresher on ways to stay safe, stop the spread and protect those around us. It’s important to keep doing the following:

  • Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask in public. Use an N95 mask if possible, or double up masks for more protection.
  • Avoid crowded places and indoor gatherings.
  • Stay home if you feel sick, even if it seems like a simple cold or allergies.
  • Get vaccinated and boosted. Breakthrough cases are occurring but if you are vaccinated and boosted, you are much more likely to experience mild symptoms and recover fully without hospitalization.

Where to go for a COVID-19 test

If you are looking for a COVID-19 test and are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, call 211 or 877.541.7905. You can also find a testing site here.

Please keep in mind that emergency rooms and urgent care centers are for those needing higher levels of care. Baylor Scott & White is not testing asymptomatic patients at this time.

If you begin to feel sick, you can also use virtual care options via MyBSWHealth to get care conveniently from home for common illnesses.

Reminder: Get your booster

Those fully vaccinated who have received a booster shot have maximum protection against Omicron. Find a vaccine site near you today.

What you need to know about the COVID-19 Omicron variant