WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County is seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases and it’s causing concern for local health leaders who believe the Omicron variant is here.

Assistant Director of Health, Amy Fagan, admits the big spike is concerning and partly the recent holiday season is to blame.

“I see that a lot in our case reports where there were a lot of gatherings, a lot of big events, and a lot of indoor events,” Fagan said. “I see a lot of spread that way and being around sick family and friends, so the other thing is that we believe the Omicron variant is here and they’re still studying how transmissible it is, how quickly that happens”.

While the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is still not confirmed in Wichita County, health district officials have sent possible samples off to the tested and are awaiting results.

Fagan said caseworkers are also seeing an increase of new cases involving people who have gotten vaccinated but not their booster shot.

Today, 163 new cases were reported with 30 Wichita County residents hospitalized.

And with new cases up, officials want to remind residents that the recommended isolation and quarantine periods have changed, per the CDC, from ten days to only five.

“The limitation and the challenge in these guidelines is that it’s really important that people are not leaving the home when they are sick and even if they have a reduction in symptoms, we made our guidelines a little stricter is that one has to be symptom-free,” Fagan said.

Those who don’t have symptoms after five days can go back to their regular activities as long as they wear a mask for the next five days.

Those who test positive are now required to stay home for only five days instead of 10 days.

However, in Wichita County there are stricter guidelines, requiring individuals to be symptom-free before being released from isolation.

Those who don’t have symptoms after five days can go back to their regular activities as long as they wear a mask for the next five days