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In the last 4 weeks, Texas tested 6% of COVID-19 cases for variants, but is looking to expand

Omicron is the latest variant of the virus to concern health leaders.

AUSTIN, Texas — Over the past four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at about 6% of all positive cases in Texas to test for variants of the coronavirus.

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) told the KVUE Defenders that the data does not include numbers from private labs, universities and the state lab.

Now, the DSHS is teaming up with universities and labs across the state to track COVID-19 variants. 

The scientists will look at the genetic code from a positive COVID-19 test result. That code can alert health authorities to mutations and variants of the virus.

DSHS said the analysis rate will increase as the program builds.

Omicron is the latest variant of the virus to concern health leaders. It was first reported in South Africa, and it has now made its way to the U.S. It's been confirmed in more than a dozen states, including Texas, and it's prompting health leaders to renew their call for vaccinations and booster shots.

This new variant comes as health workers are still dealing with the effects of the delta variant and are concerned about a second surge as the holidays approach.

As of Dec. 7, there are currently 2,459 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to Texas' COVID-19 dashboard

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