Doctors advise being cautious of COVID symptoms after New Year’s gatherings

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of fatigue and a desire for normalcy. More people have gathered as vaccines and boosters have become available, but gatherings have also caused an uptick in COVID cases, especially during the holiday season.

“It’s winter, so people are inside more,” Dr. Thomica James-Evans said. “It’s the holidays, so people are communing more and those are perfect factors for any virus or bacterium to spread.”

Evans believes the recent uptick in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant is disappointing but not surprising to medical professionals. She said many hospitals have been prepared for a possible surge.

“We’re just seeing waves of people already that started with the Thanksgiving and has just continued throughout this holiday season,” Evans said.

Evans said patients aren’t the only ones who feel the weight of COVID, medical staffs do as well. Many have felt fatigued due to fuller hospitals and staff shortages during the pandemic.

“We’ve been doing our level best to take care of the public for a long, long time, and we have families and we’re worried about our families as well,” Evans said.

For those attending New Year’s events, Evans said it’s important to monitor any symptoms that may arise tomorrow. Some early symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat and earaches. This also means you should stay home to avoid potentially exposing others to something and get tested for COVID as soon as possible, according to James. Local testing information can be found here.

For those who may not feel symptoms but may have been exposed to COVID, Evans advises to wear a mask and stay home for five days. After the fifth day, Evans said to get tested, either a rapid test or one given in the community.

“Wear a mask at your gathering tonight, at least after your exposure tomorrow and then get some testing done,” Evans said. “You reduce the risk of spread.”

Evans said those who don’t attend gatherings should wear a mask, especially when returning to work or school next week to avoid potential exposures.

“Wear a mask and right now gators don’t work very well, the bandanas don’t work very well,” Evans said. “Even the surgical masks aren’t great so we’re recommending the KN95 or a N95 mask.”

Evans also advises taking advantage of the vaccines and boosters as they reduce the risk of catching COVID or allow for milder symptoms if contracted.

Written by Caleb Britt

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