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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Omicron is now the premier COVID-19 version in King County

An official at Harborview Medical Center said the COVID-19 Omicron variant will soon overtake Delta as the premier variant across the state.

Seattle — A Seattle hospital leader said Thursday that Omicron has become the dominant coronavirus variant in King County and western Washington.

Dr. John Lynch, medical director of the Harborview Medical Center for Infection Prevention and Control, said in a statement that the super-infectious Omicron variant will soon overtake Delta across the state.

The Omicron variant spreads more easily than other coronavirus strains, and federal health officials said Monday that it is now the dominant variant of the virus in the US, accounting for 73% of new infections last week.

“we are going to watch [omicron] “East Washington and north and south Washington turn to the Delta strain soon,” Lynch said.

Lynch said that healthy people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus and who have received a booster shot should “mostly expect cold-like symptoms” if they become ill with the Omicron variant.

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Lynch urged anyone who tested positive for the virus to reconsider attending any holiday celebrations, regardless of vaccination status or if they are experiencing symptoms.

“I know how hard it is for everybody,” Lynch said. “As someone who is dealing with this, who sees patients with it, who has been working very hard for two years to prevent new cases – if it happened to me, if my antigen test was positive, So I’ll stay at home. Even if I didn’t have any symptoms, I’d assume the test is accurate, given how much COVID is out there.”

Although some early reports said the Omicron variant is less severe than previous variants, Washington state health officials continue to sound the alarm.

As Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) executive vice president Taya Breeley explained Thursday, the state and the rest of the country are facing a “math problem” because of the new version’s apparent high transmission potential.

“Even if most people don’t get really sick, there are a lot of people who are getting infected with Omicron, and some of them will become seriously ill and need hospital care. Here Even if it is only a small fraction of the total, it could mean that a large number of people are getting sick enough to be admitted to hospital,” Briley said during the WSHA briefing.

RELATED: Here are the most common omicron symptoms:

Many Washingtonians are using rapid COVID-19 tests at home before gathering or traveling this holiday season to ensure they are not putting their loved ones at risk.

To help alert the public that they may be a close contact, the WA Notify app is expanding its features to include at-home COVID-19 test results in its exposure notifications. The new feature allows people who test positive for COVID-19 with an at-home test to anonymously inform others about any potential exposure.

The WA Notify app gives those who receive a positive test result a verification code which is then reported to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). DOH said the new feature increases the number of people who can benefit from the app’s notifications as it increases the number of tests it uses.

The new feature gives people who test at home the option to receive a verification code if they test positive.

Since the app was launched in November 2020, DOH says that more than 2.75 million people have enabled WA Notify on their phones. This equates to around 45% of all smartphone users in the state.


World Nation News Desk
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