The Omicron variant is surging through the Erie community and local hospitals are seeing an increase of cases in patients.

The variant is driving a surge through the Erie community with 80% of the COVID-19 cases being reported as Omicron. .

UPMC Hamot has discovered that this variant is more contagious than any of the variants that medical professionals have seen.

“There is a contagious measure that’s a relative comparison. For example, Delta under this contagion measure are not. Delta was a 1.7. It’s accurate to say that Omicron is about a 3.5.” said Jim Donnelly, UPMC Hamot Chief Nursing Officer and VP Patient Care Services.

Higher number of patients at AHN Saint Vincent are showing symptoms of the Omicron variant as well, according to AHN Saint Vincent spokesperson Monica Lewis. The admissions of AHN Saint Vincent remain in the low to mid-50s.

Hospitalizations at UPMC Hamot also remain stable, despite the surge of Omicron cases with no doubling hospitalizations.

“The people that we are seeing hospitalized, the unvaccinated, tend to be more affected by the illness. They tend to be more likely to get severely ill and require ICU care.” Donnelly said.

UPMC Hamot is seeing more cases come in, but hospitalizations are staying the same. If you or anyone you know get sick, they have room for you here.

“We are not 100% full today. I have space in my ICU, but we are seeing an uptick overall in patient volumes.” Donnelly said.

According to AHN Saint Vincent spokesperson Monica Lewis, AHN Saint Vincent continues to have capacity for hospital beds as well.

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Donnelly says once concern that everyone should keep in mind is that the Omicron variant is highly contagious. More people in our community will get it, which means more healthcare workers will get it.