LITTLE ROCK, Ark – As the Omicron Variant sweeps the nation, health experts in Little Rock are warning residents to be mindful of symptoms that may vary from other variants.
The Arkansas Department of Health says in cases with the omicron variant, positive patients experience cold-like symptoms.
“It’s mostly upper respiratory,” Arkansas Dept. of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said. “Their nose, and throat, congested, cough, and headache.”
Dillaha says they are not really seeing cases where patients have a loss of taste and smell or a fever. They say because of the milder symptoms, most mistake the illness for a cold or even allergies.
“Stay home, do not expose other people and get tested,” Dillaha said.
Meanwhile, testing has been increasing across the state as the holidays get closer.
Kavanaugh Pharmacy says they have tested 180 people in the last two days. They say some of the testing is done for travel but there are an increasing number of patients testing with symptoms.
“Our numbers have probably increased tenfold over the last few days,” Kavanaugh Pharmacy Owner Anne Pace said.
She says many are calling in with the same cold-like symptoms, prompting questions about the new variant.
“That’s the problem of trying to determine when people call or when they ask questions about it, is what is it?,” Pace said.
Pace says most of the time, they recommend the patient get tested despite cold or allergy symptoms.
“I think people really need to be cautious,” said Pace.
With the holidays around the corner, the Health Department says this is not the time to take any illness lightly.
“It will cause people to have to make difficult decisions if they’re ill they may have to decide not to visit,” Dillaha said.
Dillaha wants to remind people to stay cautious this holiday. She says get tested, and wear masks when you can.
The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed its second case of the Omicron Variant in the state Wednesday.