As omicron debuts on the west coast, one-third of Washington state’s population remains vulnerable
The new omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected in California on Wednesday, and health officials say it is only a matter of time before it is detected in Washington.
Omicron will arrive when a third of Washington’s population is still vulnerable to the virus, according to state modeling, state epidemiologist Dr Scott Lindquist told reporters on Wednesday.
“This model shows us that approximately 34%, or one-third of the population of the state as a whole, are still vulnerable to this infection, which means they are not vaccinated or have not been infected. “said Lindquist.
Anyone aged 5 years and over can be vaccinated and almost 68% of the total population has received at least one dose.
In Spokane County, 57% of the total population has started vaccination.
However, vaccination rates are not consistent across the state, and health officials have urged everyone to get vaccinated, including those who have tested positive for the virus.
Health officials have also encouraged all eligible people to receive a booster dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone 18 years of age or older who has received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine should be given a booster dose six months after their second dose. Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first injection.
It will take a few weeks for public health experts and scientists to learn more about the new variant of omicron. Health Secretary Dr Umair Shah said vaccines would remain effective, “we just don’t know to what extent.”
While preliminary data indicates that omicron could be more infectious, Lindquist said it will also matter for the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments, like new oral drugs and monoclonal antibodies, against it.
Omicron is not changing ways to prevent a new variant from spreading: vaccines, masks, distancing, and testing will all be essential in keeping the new variant at bay.
âIn terms of travel, I think we need to highlight in this time of new variations, you should think about where you are going,â Shah said, noting that restrictions, vaccines and testing requirements differ by location.
Here is an overview of local numbers
The Spokane Regional Health District reported 218 cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths on Wednesday.
There have been 1,098 deaths from COVID-19 among residents of Spokane County.
There are 66 patients hospitalized in Spokane with the virus.
The Panhandle Health District has reported 127 new cases of coronavirus and six additional deaths.
There have been 717 deaths from COVID-19 among residents of Panhandle.
There are 70 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.