AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Friday, the Austin Public Health Authority announced a new sub-variant of omicron in the Travis County area.
In addition to the new variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Travis County’s community level of COVID-19 as moderate risk for the first time in five months.
APH said it did not detect the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant in Travis County sewage samples, but it has been reported in other parts of Texas and across the country.
“We need to avoid another surge,” APH director Adrienne Sturrup said. “Our hospitals are now treating patients with COVID-19, influenza and various upper respiratory diseases. If you’ve already made up your mind to eat a healthier diet or increase your physical activity in the new year, add vaccinations to your list. If you are already vaccinated, get a booster. Protect yourself and loved ones who are at high risk of severe illness.”
These are the key metrics used to determine the community level in Travis County. The numbers below are as of Friday, January 6th:
- Cases of COVID-19 per 100,000: 141
- COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000: 10.3
5 things to know about the omicron XBB sub-variant:
- XBB is a subline of omicrons.
- XBB is rapidly replacing previous sub-variants in the US.
- Bivalent boosters still provide some level of protection and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.
- XBB is resistant to existing treatments for COVID-19, such as monoclonal infusions, which is a concern for immunocompromised people.
- The symptoms of XBB are similar to those of other variants of COVID-19, including cough, nasal congestion, exhaustion, fever, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches.