UH is closely monitoring the Omicron COVID-19 variant that was identified in South Africa, and now in California, according to College of Medicine dean Dr. Stephen Spann.
In an email to students, Spann said although no cases of Omicron were detected in Texas, public officials are concerned that we’ll start seeing cases soon.
“At this point, there is still much we don’t know about this variant,” Spann said. “I want to assure you that the University of Houston leadership is closely monitoring this situation, and we are committed to taking whatever steps are recommended to maintain a safe and secure campus.”
Spann also mentioned the efforts of messenger RNA vaccine producers to make an Omicron specific vaccine if necessary, but it would take time.
In the meantime, Spann hopes for information in the next few weeks that could indicate the susceptibility of the new variant to current vaccines and its infectivity.
Precautions that are recommended for students include vaccination, which is the best way to protect yourself along with a booster if you already have two doses and are over 18, according to Spann.
Further it’s recommended to wear masks and social distance along with hand washing and good respiratory hygiene and etiquette.
Spann reminded students of the COVID-19 testing kiosk, that’s been open on campus since January, in front of Student Center South. He recommended for those that are unvaccinated to get frequent testing to reduce chances of transmission to other unvaccinated individuals or vaccinated immunocompromised individuals.
“Thus far, we have been fortunate to have kept our campus community relatively healthy during this pandemic, but it is crucial that we face this possible new danger with renewed diligence and dedication,” Spann said. “Thank you for your continuing resilience and taking care to keep yourself and those around you safe.”