Duval County health department warns of another COVID surge due to omicron

Department provides 4 recommendations for Jacksonville residents amid holiday season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Duval County offered a warning on Thursday, saying to expect another surge of COVID-19 in the coming months because of the omicron variant.

The health department put out a notice with the warning about the highly contagious variant.

“The new variant is expected to cause the greatest surge in COVID-19 infections to date in the coming months,” the health department said in the notice. “Early evidence suggests that Omicron is two to three times as contagious as the Delta variant, making it four to six times as contagious as the original strain of the COVID-19 virus.”

The health department also put out four recommendations for Jacksonville residents, especially as people gather for the holidays:

  • Vaccinate: Get vaccinated before gathering, attending events or traveling. Get a booster when eligible. Layer protection with a flu shot.
  • Test: Get a COVID-19 test before joining gatherings with others who are not in your household and before and after traveling, regardless of your vaccine status.
  • Mask: Wear a mask indoors in public, even if you are vaccinated.
  • Prevent: Continue rigorous hand washing and consider avoiding large crowds.

“Vaccinating against COVID-19 remains the most effective way for people to protect themselves from serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” the health department said. “Once vaccinated, individuals ages 16 and older should get a booster. Those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should get a booster 6 months after their second dose. Those who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster 2 months after their original shot.”

If you need to get tested, News4JAX has compiled a list of COVID-19 testing sites in Northeast Florida. To find additional testing, as well as vaccination, locations, visit FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov/.

Testing sites at Jacksonville community centers will be closed Thursday and Friday. The beaches site was open Thursday, but it’s closed Friday. They will all reopen Monday.

Omicron has not yet been officially detected in Duval County, but local doctors told News4JAX that they believe it’s already here and that they believe it’s just a matter of time before it’s confirmed.

About the Authors:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.