UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – There are two confirmed cases of the Omicron Variant in Oneida County. Mohawk Valley Health System’s Chief Physician Executive Dr. Kent Hall spoke with us about how this could impact hospitals.

“Do I think that the hospitals are going to get back to where we were back in January or February of this year? I really don’t. Now, I will admit that my crystal ball is as cloudy as everybody else’s.” said Hall.

Dr. Hall explains that because a significant amount of the population have gotten their vaccines and booster, the Omicron Variant may not cause as great of an impact. While early data shows that omicron does not give as significant of a disease, studies do show that it is more contagious. Dr. halls says that the best way to protect yourself besides vaccination is by wearing your mask.

“I will tell you that as a physician, masks are good. Masks keep respiratory infections whether it’s Coronavirus, whether it’s the flu, they keep them from spreading,” said Hall.

Like many healthcare systems across the country, MVHS has had a loss of staff due to the vaccine mandates for healthcare workers. So, how will this impact hospitals as we continue to combat COVID and this new variant?

“It is impactful. Does it keep us from being able to do our job and to do what we’re here for? No, it doesn’t. Does it make it that much harder? Absolutely. Am I concerned that we’re going to be overwhelmed with things? I don’t think so, I think it will be manageable, but hard,” said Hall.

Overall, Doctor Hall tells us that this new variant is something that we need to be aware of and concerned about, but this is not a cause for panic.

“There is nobody here in the Mohawk Valley Health System that is panicking about this. We are aware of it. We are doing everything we can to be prepared for it. We are all prepared for whatever may come down the path because it’s our job to take care of the community,” said Hall.