Officials say omicron sub-variant is ‘Not of any clinical significance’

Local News

EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Hidalgo County Health officials confirmed a mutation of the omicron variant on Thursday calling it a ‘sub-variant.’

However, Hidalgo County Health authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said a variant does not always imply more danger.

“When you have a variant of a mutation that means it’s just a small change,” said Melendez. “So really the sub-variant itself isn’t of any clinical significance.”

Melendez added that the molecular structure of the coronavirus is prone to a variety of mutations, and pointed to the delta variant as an example.

“This is one of the longest viruses, mRNA’s, this is considered a very long, long tall virus,” said Melendez. “We had eight new omicron cases reported which is of no surprise whatsoever and then there’s a sub-type a sub-variant, which is of no significance. Let’s remember delta had 20 of them.”

Health officials stressed the new variant is of no cause for concern. However, Melendez said a real concern presently is staffing shortages in hospitals.

“We have about a 20 to 30% shortage in nursing. It’s a crisis,” said Melendez.

Despite the struggle in staffing, Hidalgo County’s hospital threshold is nowhere near capacity according to Melendez.

“That gives us about a 22% hospitalization rate. That is, those people that are in the hospital right now, those 250 plus patients make up about 1/5th of the total capacity,” said Melendez.

In an interview with Border Report, Hidalgo County Health and Human Service Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo Olivarez said the county has teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide region-wide testing.

“Next week we will be actually starting a joint venture between the Texas Department of Emergency Management, Texas Department of State Health Services, and Hidalgo County Emergency Management where we will be looking at developing—I want make that in big bold letters—a regional testing site,”

Hidalgo County Health and Human Service Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo Olivarez

According to a press release from Hidalgo County, the site will be at the Edinburg Municipal Park on Jan. 19 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be opened 7 days a week.

The site is planned to administer 1,000 tests daily and will remain open until Feb. 4.

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