SAN ANTONIO – As the new year quickly approaches, San Antonio Metro Health officials warn residents who plan to celebrate to exercise caution amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Metro Health officials say they have seen a “three-fold increase” in COVID-19 cases, with the increase in cases being attributed to the omicron variant.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says omicron accounted for 84.9% of state-wide COVID-19 cases for the week of Dec. 12 – Dec. 18.

Metro Health officials predict a similar increase in San Antonio.

“The Omicron variant is responsible for the expected increase in daily cases we are seeing. This variant is highly transmissible, but we can all do our part to contain its spread,” Metro Health Director Claude A. Jacob said. “Get vaccinated as soon as possible if you are not already to help prevent infection from COVID-19 and spreading it to others. Get a booster dose if you are eligible. Getting vaccinated can help prevent serious illness or hospitalization, and people who have breakthrough cases are much more likely to only have mild or no symptoms.”

For those who plan to attend New Year’s Eve festivities, Metro Health officials say the best way to avoid getting COVID-19 is to be vaccinated, wear a well-fitting mask, and get tested.

Metro Health officials say you should self-test if you plan to attend an NYE gathering. If you receive a positive result with a self-test, it means you are infected and should avoid gatherings. If your self-test result is negative, you may not have COVID-19. Officials say you should repeat testing at least 24 hours after your last test to ensure negative results.

“Metro Health also recommends everyone wear a mask regardless of your vaccination status,” Jacob said. “It can’t be stressed enough that if you are feeling ill even if you think it’s just allergies, stay home and get tested.”

You can find a list of COVID-19 testing sites here.