Doctors concerned about COVID-19 omicron variant as students return to school

As children return to school after the holiday break, the omicron COVID-19 variant is a concern that can't be ignored, doctors say.

Related: Detroit cancels classes amid Covid surge

"From a medical standpoint a pause in education right now is absolutely appropriate," said Dr. Justin Skrzynski, with Beaumont Health. "If you look, one of the alarming things about omicron is that it looks like pediatric, so child, hospitalizations are actually up."

He said that this is cause for concern.

Read: MDHHS urges schools to require masks for students, staff

"That's certainly not to diminish the issues with ongoing education and the social aspects of all these things. That definitely needs to be addressed, but purely from a medical standpoint it's a wise idea right now to put that on hold," he said.

While the omicron variant is believed to be milder than other Covid variants, Skrzynski said the Beaumont Health system is still under stress. He also noted that omicron is more contagious.

Severe sore throat, runny nose -- omicron symptoms resemble flu, cold

"If you look at our Covid cases for the past few weeks now, they've been at a high and sort of sustained level," he said. "So, we were hoping that we were going to catch a break between the delta variant before we really saw this omicron surge. Now we know that omicron is very prevalent, especially in the entire Midwest area, so likely contributing to our ongoing cases."

More: Beaumont hospitals change visitation rules

As Covid cases rise in Michigan and across the U.S., health professionals are urging people to get vaccinated and get the booster.

Skrzynski said that boosters can safely be mixed and matched, and advised that people get the Pfizer or Moderna booster. He said this is safe even if you received the Johnson & Johnson shot first.

"There shouldn't be any safety risks, however there is an absence of data in turns of what that long term protection is," he said. "For instance, someone who got Johnson & Johnson, should they restart the vaccine series with one of the mRNA vaccines. Should they get one booster? These are questions that are still up in the air."