Tips for staying safe during holidays with Omicron variant

Local health experts encourage to continue practicing pandemic safety over the holidays.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, middle Georgia is in the green in terms of COVID-19 right now, but Michael Hokanson with the North Central Health District said these numbers might not stick around for much longer because of the new Omicron variant.

“Hopefully with Omicron, with some of the information in the early reports, they’re a little more optimistic where they’re not seeing as hard-hitting of an illness for those that become infected with omicron,” Hokanson said. “But of course an important thing to note is that there are risks involved with vaccinated people and unvaccinated people.”

As more Georgians get vaccinated, people are starting to come together for the holidays. Doctors and health experts are warning about the spread of Covid-19 and its variants, as well as other respiratory viruses.

The CDC just discovered Georgia’s first in-state case of the Omicron variant over the weekend, and health officials are still working to learn more about it.

“So within middle Georgia, we don’t have any recorded cases of Omicron,” Hokanson said. “However it’s important to note that in the state of Georgia variant testing is very limited, so chances are even if we have a specific amount of Omicron in our community, we would never know that just because of the limitations in testing.”

Only every few hundred COVID tests are checked for COVID variants. That’s why Charles Soares, an emergency room physician with Piedmont Macon, says it’s better to be safe than having to wonder what illness you actually have.

“I would recommend always wearing your mask especially when you’re out in public, traveling in airports and things along those lines,” he said. “I would also say that if you’re an immunocompromised person, or if you’re interacting with someone who’s immunocompromised, it would be important that you maintain social distancing, wear your mask, get your vaccine for flu and Covid-19.”

If you’re planning any holiday get togethers,  don’t be afraid to evaluate the situation and decide what’s best for you.

“If you’re vaccinated, you’ve kind of done the best you can to prevent yourself from getting that disease,” Soares said. “I would say it’s really up to that specific person and what they’re comfortable with.”

Both the hospital and the North Central Health District recommend flu and COVID testing if you feel sick or if you just want to make sure not to spread anything other than holiday cheer over the next few weeks.

Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Health, Local News

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