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A doctor prepares a dose of the coronavirus vaccine. (Contributed photo)

Hospitals across Fort Bend County have changed operating procedures in recent weeks amid a strong uptick in the number of coronavirus patients, spurred in part by the arrival of the new omicron variant in the county.

Administrators with Houston Methodist Hospital first detected the omicron variant in patient test results on Dec. 14, said Esther Schinzler, spokesperson for the hospital. At the time, there were about 114 patients in the hospital’s system, she said.

By Dec. 28, that number had increased to more than 410 coronavirus inpatients, she said.

“Yes, we’ve seen an increase,” she said.

In response, the hospital has changed its visitor policy to allow each patient only one healthy visitor per day, as of Dec. 24, Schinzler said. But as of now, elective surgeries will continue as planned, she said.

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is at 16655 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land. To Learn more about the hospital's visitor policy, visit https://www.houstonmethodist.org/coronavirus/update-for-patients/.

Memorial Hermann Health System also updated its visitor policies in response to growing numbers of omicron cases, according to a news release. The new policies stipulate a screening process for all approved visitors and limitations on how many guests a patient can have each day.

The system operates one hospital in Sugar Land, 17500 W Grand Parkway S, Sugar Land. To learn more about the hospital's visitor policy, visit https://www.memorialhermann.org/services/conditions/coronavirus/important-announcements.

County Judge KP George last month raised the county’s threat level in response to the new omicron variant of coronavirus and shortly thereafter tested positive for the virus himself.

Fort Bend County Health and Human Services in December confirmed the first three people in the county had tested positive for the variant.

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