McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) – Coronavirus rates on the South Texas border are spiking again and attributed to fast-spreading omicron variants, health officials tell Border Report.

In Hidalgo County, health officials reported 1,550 new COVID-19 cases from Friday to Tuesday, including 86 hospitalizations and the death of one fully vaccinated person.

Cameron County, on the Gulf Coast, had 676 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths from Saturday through Monday, health officials said.

(Cameron County Graphic)

Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo “Eddie” Olivarez told Border Report on Tuesday that samplings sent to the state for analysis have shown a spread of several omicron variants throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

“Omicron is impacting our community like it is across the country,” said Olivarez, who warned that these highly contagious variants spread especially quickly among the elderly population.

The virus also shows some resistance to vaccines, although vaccines are helpful in preventing the infected person from getting serious complications and having to be hospitalized, Olivarez said, adding that he urges everyone should be fully up to date on their vaccines.

(Hidalgo County Graphic)

“The vaccine does assist to lessen the medical impacts on a person when they contract COVID so it is very important that everyone gets the vaccine, first dose, second dose and booster. We’ve seen an increase in pediatric cases and many of those pediatric cases are not vaccinated and we’ve seen an increase of breakthrough cases — people who are fully vaccinated and still get COVID-19,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reported 44,369 new cases on Monday in the United States. This is much more than the average new cases this time last year, however, is still far fewer than in January when nationwide cases spiked to over 400,000 new infections per day.

Olivarez said with school starting up in a few weeks, border youth should get vaccines, which are now available to children as young as six months.

“We need to understand that it’s going to take natural immunity, which we have lots of it out there, along with the vaccine to strengthen immunity and that’s the only we’re going to get control of this thing. It’s going to take the community working together,” Olivarez said.