Rio Grande Valley’s 1st case of omicron variant detected in Cameron County

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The South African doctor who alerted officials of the possibility of a new variant, later named omicron, said the “unusual but mild” symptoms were what caught her attention. The variant on Monday was detected in South Texas in Cameron County on the Mexican border.(Photo: Getty Images)

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McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Health officials in Cameron County, on the South Texas border with Mexico, announced Monday afternoon the first case of the omicron variant of coronavirus and said it is “spreading” throughout the county.

“As we have suspected, and have now confirmed, the Omicron variant is spreading in Cameron County as it is in other parts of the nation and is likely a major factor in the current spike in cases,” Cameron County Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo said in a statement. “We continue to stress the importance of being fully vaccinated, getting boosted, and wearing masks to protect yourself and others against COVID-19.”

Guajardo said a 29-year-old woman from the Gulf Coast town of Brownsville tested positive for the COVID-19 omicron variant and had been fully vaccinated but had not received her booster shot.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports the omicron variant now accounts for more than 90% of all new coronavirus cases.

This is the first case of omicron in the Rio Grande Valley.

It comes just days after state officials announced that the “regional infusion centers in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio and The Woodlands have exhausted their supply of sotrovimab, the monoclonal antibody effective against the COVID-19 omicron variant, due to the national shortage from the federal government,” according to the DSHS.

“We must continue trying our best and avoid situations that may compromise our own health and that of our loved ones. Please follow prevention methods to avoid a severe illness and contact our public health hotline should you have questions regarding vaccine availability and boosters. Remember, unfortunately the antibody treatment to fight the Omicron variant remains unavailable statewide. Let’s continue with all safeguards,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr., said in a statement.

Since the pandemic began, Cameron County has had over 111,300 coronavirus cases and 1,000 deaths. Currently, there are over 1,300 active COVID-19 cases, according to the county’s health dashboard.

Earlier Monday, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, of the neighboring border county, said, “Every precaution should be taken to avoid crowds and follow good hygiene practices. It is important to get tested if you suspect you have been exposed to COVID and to isolate yourself if you test positive.”

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at ssanchez@borderreport.com.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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