The new omicron variant and the recent spike in positive cases may have some second guessing their holiday plans.

“We’re going to have more spread as people get together,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher, Infection Prevention Medical Director at Ascension St. Vincent.

Dr. Belcher says if you plan to celebrate the holidays with loved ones, the safest option is to keep gatherings small.

“Distancing would be nice in the gathering and some have chosen to test the day before or after a gathering,” Dr. Belcher.

“If you are among people whose vaccination status is unknown, we have our regular tools in our toolkit; wearing masks, social distancing, using good hygiene,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Regenstrief Institute.

Dr. Grannis says testing and the positivity rate have plateaued but that’s no reason to let your guard down. 

“There is the possibility for spreading if we’re not cautious and careful,” said Dr. Grannis.

Hospitals across the state have been reaching full capacity with COVID and non-COVID patients. 

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had 60 percent more patients in the hospital and its doubled in the ICU,” Dr. Belcher said.

Doctors say taking extra precautions can keep you out of the hospital and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed.

This holiday season, we have a new tool to fight the pandemic.

“The biggest difference is vaccines are available this year,” Dr. Belcher.

And booster shots for those who are eligible.

“If you get a booster shot today or this weekend, you will be much better off than without a booster shot,” Dr. Belcher.

“I want everyone to have a peaceful and family filled COVID-free Christmas,” said Dr. Grannis. “I think if we just follow the basic, common sense precautions, I think we’ll be alright.”