In the midst of a mounting viral surge, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is issuing a resounding call for individuals to maintain their vigilance and ensure they are up-to-date with their COVID vaccinations. A startling statistic that highlights the gravity of the situation shows a steady weekly increase in hospitalizations connected to COVID.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s most recent data reveal worrying trends in Harris County. At the close of July, COVID hospitalizations had surged by an alarming 14.6% compared to the prior week's admissions. This surge in hospitalizations outpaces both statewide and national trends, which stand at 11% and 12.5% increases, respectively.

Taking center stage in the current viral landscape is the EG.5 Omicron subvariant, responsible for the lion's share of new COVID infections coursing through the nation. Its prevalence emphasizes the need for an unrelenting commitment to preventive measures.

Although the formal national emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis has been officially curtailed, the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to exert its influence within the community, leaving no room for complacency. HCPH's Local Health Authority, Ericka Brown, emphasizes, "We must remain vigilant as the threat of SARS-CoV-2 persists, with the potential emergence of novel variants ever present." 

Brown adds, "We strongly advocate that all individuals and their cherished ones ensure their protection by keeping their COVID-19 vaccinations current." She highlights the availability of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine series, along with free booster shots for all eligible age groups. Appointments can be conveniently arranged through online registration or by phone.

The spectrum of symptoms associated with the new EG.5 Omicron subvariant mirrors the broader range commonly associated with COVID infection, spanning from mild manifestations to severe complications. Notably, the risk of severe symptoms is elevated in older adults and those grappling with underlying medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease.

HCPH's clarion call resonates further, encouraging individuals to promptly seek their COVID booster shots. This vital step not only bolsters personal immunity but collectively contributes to the community's resilience against the ongoing viral challenge.

In the face of these evolving circumstances, unwavering adherence to health guidelines and vaccination protocols emerges as our most potent defense