The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is surging across West Texas like a tidal wave, including here in Eldorado where the State of Texas reported 60 active cases on Wednesday.

“Who knows how accurate that is?” Hospital Administrator Paul Burke said. “With all of the home test kits that aren’t reported to the state, there is no way of telling what the actual number is.”

Burke noted that supplies for the rapid COVID test are quickly running out. “Sonora is out and sending people over here to be tested,” Burke said.

Families who exhibit similar symptoms aren’t all tested.

“Once one or two of them test positive, it’s logical to assume that they all have it,” Burke explained.

The outbreak has also hit hard at Schleicher County ISD where school officials on Tuesday decided to cancel school for the remainder of the week.

The decision came less than a day after Superintendent Robert Gibson told his school board members that school closure would only be considered as a last resort.

Paul Burke said on Tuesday that there weren’t many rapid tests left at Schleicher County Medical Center, with few prospects of locating additional tests.

The San Angelo Health Department reported 833 new cases on Wednesday. That compares to 920 on Tuesday and 1,258 new cases reported for the three-day period from Saturday to Monday.

Here in Eldorado, SCMC reported 30 new positive tests in the past week, with another nine from other counties.

“The real number is higher than that, I’m afraid,” Burke said.

Fortunately, the Omicron variant doesn’t seem to be as deadly as earlier variants, although it is highly contagious.

The best advice continues to be:

1) Get a vaccine and/or booster shot;

2) Practice social distancing when possible;

3) Wear a mask or face covering when in public (preferably an N95 or KN95 mask);

4) Wash and sanitize your hands often; and

5) Be mindful of the most vulnerable among us, especially the elderly, those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems.