Omicron Variant of COVID Virus Confirmed in Oakland County

Omicron Variant of COVID Virus Confirmed in Oakland County

(Oakland County Health Division, Dec. 17, 2021)

Oakland County, MI – The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is present in Oakland County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) alerted Oakland County Health Division today. A county resident tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 5 and a lab identified the strain as the Omicron variant on Dec. 16 then notified MDHHS.

A case investigation determined the resident, who was vaccinated but did not have a booster dose, had traveled internationally. The resident denied having any close contacts since returning home. MDHHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are the agencies that look into any possible exposures while traveling.

“The bad news is that Omicron is here. The good news is our main tools still work as with any variant – masking regardless of vaccine status, distance, and vaccinations including booster doses,” Health Division Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust said. “Even if Omicron is slightly resistant to immunity to other variants, increasing your immunity through vaccinations will help prevent infection, hospitalization, and death.”

According to the CDC, the Omicron variant will likely spread more easily, but how easily Omicron spreads, compared to the Delta variant, remains unknown. The CDC expects that anyone with the Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. Breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, however, are likely to occur. Vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

“Emergence of Omicron in our area further emphasizes the importance of primary vaccinations and boosters, especially before any upcoming holiday gatherings” Oakland County Director of Health and Human Services Leigh-Anne Stafford said. “Vaccination, masking and social distancing is strongly encouraged to help slow spread of Omicron and all COVID-19 viruses.”

The following prevention strategies will reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus and help limit variants:

  • Get anyone age 5 and older vaccinated and a booster shot when eligible
  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings
  • Physically distance from others
  • Stay home whenever symptoms appear
  • Get tested for COVID-19, especially before gatherings
  • Self-isolate properly if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Follow recommendations for traveling

COVID-19 cases continue to be prevalent in Oakland County and Michigan. There were more than 11,800 new confirmed and probable cases from Nov. 29 – Dec. 12, 54 percent of whom were ages 39 years old and younger. The seven-day case average was 657 new cases per day in Oakland County as of Dec. 15. The seven-day percent positivity for COVID-19 tests dropped to 15.38 percent from 16.60 percent the week before.

Most new cases in Michigan continue to be among individuals who are not fully vaccinated. They comprised 85.1 percent of cases, 88.1 percent of hospitalizations, and 85.8 percent of deaths from Jan. 15-Dec. 4, according to the MI COVID Response Data and Modeling Update.

Visit www.oaklandcountyvaccine.com for information about upcoming COVID vaccination sites and who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments when available are strongly recommended online or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 during business hours.

More information about COVID-19 can be found on the Health Division’s website at www.oakgov.com/health or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com. Nurse on Call is available 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.

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