Jacksonville doctor: Transmissibility of omicron variant most concerning to scientific community

The latest coronavirus variant "omicron" is prompting a warning of "very high" global risk from the World Health Organization. News4Jax reporter Jim Piggott talked with doctors at UF Health and others about this variant, and booster shots.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX is looking at how Jacksonville is preparing for another potential coronavirus surge.

While no cases of the new coronavirus variant omicron had not been identified in the U.S. as of Monday, many doctors like Dr. Chirag Patel, of UF Health Jacksonville, believe it’s only a matter of time.

“It’s transmissibility, that is most concerning to all of us in the scientific community,” Patel said. “With the number of people that have been vaccinated thus far in the United States, that’s reassuring. But that being said, there are still swatches of individual communities that have low vaccination rates, and those are the communities I am most concerned about.”

Meanwhile, News4JAX did some checking on the number of COVID-19 cases currently being treated at hospitals that release that information to us.

On Monday, UF Health reported nine cases and one in the intensive care unit. Baptist Health said that at its five facilities, there were 24 cases, 10 in the ICU and two children in the ICU as of Monday. Ascension St. Vincent’s on Monday reported seven cases at its three facilities.

Patel said area hospitals are anticipating another surge of COVID-19 — not because of the omicron variant — but because of holiday travel.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.