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In-Depth: The challenging combination of omicron COVID-19 variant and the holidays

Posted at 3:05 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 19:45:21-05

SALT LAKE CITY — With the holidays approaching, Utah is in the region of the country with the smallest number of omicron COVID-19 cases. But Utah experts say that will change quickly.

State epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen says the timing is a problem.

“To have that new variant at the same time we have these holiday gatherings is really concerning,” Nolen says.

READ: Utah reports 1,017 daily COVID-19 cases Friday; 7 new deaths

Dr. Brandon Webb, an infectious disease physician with Intermountain Healthcare, said Utah’s hospital system is already overtaxed.

“We're projecting that the omicron variant will significantly burden the healthcare systems because of its transmissibility,” Webb said.

Both doctors say the best present you can give your family is to arrive fully vaccinated and, if the timing is right, boostered.

“Do it before you go see your family so you can have a good holiday and keep everybody safe,” said Nolen.