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Omicron variant now present in Louisiana

Widowed mother of 2 hopes fiancé's death in October serves as a wakeup call
Employees work to disinfect Norwegian Cruise Lines' Breakaway on Dec. 5, 2021, after the cruise...
Employees work to disinfect Norwegian Cruise Lines' Breakaway on Dec. 5, 2021, after the cruise ship returned to port in New Orleans with at least 10 positive cases of COVID-19 on board. It happened hours before another voyage was scheduled to leave that afternoon.(WVUE-Fox 8)
Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 10:35 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2021 at 11:30 PM CST
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(KSLA) — A recently widowed woman says she’s now a single mother of two due to COVID-19.

And Cala Russell hopes her fiancé's death in October at the age of 22 serves as a wakeup call that the virus and its variants are not going anywhere anytime soon.

“A lot of people think isn’t going to be something that impacts them. It’s not going to be me; it can’t be me,” Russell told KSLA News 12.

“I’m here to say you may not think it’s going to be you, but it can very much be you laying in that hospital bed.”

Russell said she didn’t think COVID-19 was that bad “... until I saw it my house.”

Now she says she’s haunted by images of her fiancé, Corey Smith, moments before he took his last breath after having been on a ventilator for 11 days.

“I had 10 minutes with him before his heart counted down to 0.”

Cala Russell, a recently widowed mother of two, says she’s haunted by images of her fiancé,...
Cala Russell, a recently widowed mother of two, says she’s haunted by images of her fiancé, Corey Smith, moments before he took his last breath in October 2021 after having been on a ventilator for 11 days due to COVID-19.(Souce: Cala Russell)

A couple months later, there now is a new COVID-19 variant and Omicron’s presence has been confirmed in Louisiana.

The new COVID-19 variant has been detected in more than 30 countries and at least in 11 states. The first case in Louisiana was found in the Greater New Orleans area. It involves an individual who recently traveled within the United States.

Additional COVID-19 cases have since been identified on a Norwegian Cruise Lines cruise ship that disembarked Sunday, Dec. 5 in New Orleans. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases identified among the passengers and crew members to 17 reported by the Louisiana Department of Health.

These cases include a probable case of Omicron, which has been identified among the crew. This case is among the 10 cases that had been previously reported. The crew member is not a Louisiana resident and did not leave the ship.

“This is cause for concern, but not panic,” State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said. “We have been expecting and preparing for this moment. To all Louisianans, the single best action you can take to protect yourselves and your families is to get yourself and loved ones vaccinated and boosted if eligible.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci and others are encouraging everyone to do their part by taking advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

“We’re getting quite good protection against Delta when you’re vaccinated and particularly when you get boostered (sic). And that’s the reason why we’re seeing even with a new variant, like Omicron, if you get boosted, you’re going to get your level up way up.”

The CDC and LDH recommend vaccinations for everyone age 5 or older and boosters for everyone age 18 or older who previously were vaccinated.

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