WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Covid numbers are on the rise once again during the holiday season, and with the first omicron death in Texas, local officials worry that it won’t be long until the variant arrives with parties and celebrations over the next couple of weeks.

A time meant for holiday cheer could turn into a holiday nightmare if individuals aren’t careful.

“Covid spreads really easily; omicron is spreading even easier,” Lou Kreidler, the Director of Health with the Wichita County Health Department, said.

Kreidler said while omicron hasn’t been found in Wichita County yet, it can always be found in the near future.

“The numbers where you have a large number of individuals with omicron is doubling daily,” Kreidler said. “So you have 20 cases one day, 40 the next day, 80 the next day, and that will quickly run through a community – especially a community our size.”

The omicron variant has been discovered to lie within your upper respiratory system, causing sore throats and uncontrollable coughing, but for those who are unvaccinated and have underlying health issues, the symptoms could cause you to experience far worse.

“I would say if a person is unvaccinated, their risks are higher of having serious illness from omicron, delta – you know, delta is still circulating in the area,” Kreidler said. “It’s still the predominant strain in Texas, and so I think we have to be vigilant of that.”

Heston Tole is visiting his parents while on break from the University of Arkansas, and he said he plans on being as safe as possible but will not allow the virus to ruin the holiday.

“I think the holidays wouldn’t be what they were if we were worried about that because this is a time for family and fellowship and being around each other,” Tole said.

Kreidler said family and fellowship can be had this holiday season, especially if the right precautions are taken.

“You know the weather is going to be beautiful,” Kreidler said. “If you could move your large Christmas gathering outside, set up tables, eat outside, open your gifts outside, that’s always a much safer option.”

Keeping each other safe is a gift that we can give to all this Christmas.

Kreidler said the way to prevent the spread of Covid and all of its strands is to get vaccinated and get those boosters before interacting with a large group.