12:38 PM

Message from UHD Emergency Management - Details on Omicron

Dear UHD Community,

As we approach the end of the semester, a new COVID-19 variant may have you concerned.

Here’s what we know so far regarding the latest strain of the virus, Omicron:

  • The first case in Texas was reported a few days ago in Harris County.
  • Additional cases have been reported in the Houston area.
  • The variant also has been detected within Houston-area wastewater.
  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that Omicron is easily spread.
  • The CDC is awaiting more data on the severity of illness caused by Omicron and the treatments necessary for those infected by this variant.

With that said, everyone must continue to do their part to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including variants such as Omicron and Delta. While many of us are vaccinated and have received booster shots, it is important to continue to wear face coverings or masks in highly populated areas, allow for proper social distancing in public areas or office spaces, wash your hands regularly and stay informed on COVID-19 levels throughout our region.

If you have not received the vaccine or a booster, UHD is hosting another vaccination event on Dec. 15. This event is open to you and your families, so please take advantage of this free service on our campus. Also, get tested regularly. In addition to its vaccination clinics, UHD hosts a Curative kiosk offering free testing seven days a week.

Please continue to report COVID-19 exposures, symptoms and diagnoses to our contact tracing team. We have updated our COVID-19 website to make it more user-friendly and to make reporting easier. Additionally, we have partnered with a contact tracing company, Rapid Trace, to assist in making follow-up calls and answer COVID-related questions during the holidays.

In many ways, this message is not very different from the information we heard at this time last year. Be aware, however, that Texas is in a much better place than one year ago. As of this writing, the state is reporting approximately 4,202 new cases; at this time in 2020, this number was 13,890.

We know these statistics can change in a heartbeat, especially following holiday travels. With that in mind, be vigilant … be aware … and be smart when it comes to protecting yourself and others this holiday season.

Cynthia Vargas
Director, UHD Emergency Management, Fire, Life & Safety