The coronavirus is back with a vengeance across Cooke County, reminding us – once again – that it is not just some bug making the rounds.

North Texas Medical Center has reopened its COVID-19 wing and asked state officials for more staff to handle this newest rush of patients. It has committed over a quarter of its beds to treating patients with coronavirus – 90 percent of whom were not vaccinated, according to hospital CEO Tom Sledge.

Schools are closing again, too.

“We’re getting hit pretty hard with the COVID outbreak. We’ve got a good number of staff and students that are out at this point. I went around this morning and there are classes with four or five kids in it. We have over 30% of our kids out today. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure we have adults in the classroom, because my staff has been hit pretty hard by this, and it’s getting very difficult to even cover classes,” Gainesville ISD Superintendent DesMontes Stewart told the Register this week.

Neighboring school districts, including Lindsay and Valley View, report that their staffs are getting hit hard, forcing them to make public appeals for people to step forward and serve as substitute teachers.

If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Cooke County has dealt with periodic surges just like this one repeatedly over the last two years. The only saving grace with this one is that the Omicron strain, the one hitting us now, is not quite as severe as the previous versions.

It is more infectious, however. That’s why it has spread like wildfire since the beginning of the month, sending people into stores to clear the shelves of cold and flu remedies.

We shudder to think just how full NTMC would be were it not for the 60 percent or so of citizens who have gotten vaccinated. Those people are generally able to ride our Omicron without hospitalization because their bodies are better conditioned to handle coronavirus – BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN VACCINATED!

We here at the Register find ourselves in an all-too-familiar spot, begging you to take this seriously. Please wear your masks in public. Please stay home and quarantine for at least five days if you believe you’re sick (unless, of course, you’re really, really sick and need to go to the doctor). Get tested. GET VACCINATED!

Believe it or not, we don’t enjoy writing these editorials every six-to-eight weeks, but we will if we have to. COVID-19 is serious and it can only be dealt with effectively if all of us wear our masks, get our shots and take the welfare of our neighbors into daily consideration.

It’s really not that much to ask.

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