How could new omicron variant impact West Alabama?

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BA.2 omicron covid strain

Although hospital numbers around the country continue decreasing, state health officials think staying on guard and prepared is imperative, especially considering the rise of the .

“Just because you’ve had positive movement one day or over a couple of days, doesn’t mean that positive movement is going to continue,” said Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson.

While it’s reassuring that case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalizations are all dropping, it’s important to keep an eye on all the numbers.

“I think the other thing to remember that while we may say overall hospitalizations are down slightly from last week,” Williamson said. “Our ICU situation has not improved dramatically. In fact, (Monday) we had more people on ventilators than we’ve had at any point during the surge.”

The latest COVID-19 variant, BA.2, is a mutated version of the omicron variant and it has similar symptoms. Researchers are referring to the omicron variant as BA.1.

“If it is more infectious, what that probably means is that it is going to delay the decline in this surge of the pandemic because it is going to be a little more infectious,” Williamson said. “The UK, for example, is now seeing case rates go up again and they are attributing that to this variant.”

The BA.2 variant has not yet been detected in Alabama, but that doesn’t mean it’s not already here.

“I won’t be surprised if is already here,” Williamson said. “We will have to see, but it certainly has the ability to become the new dominant sub variant in Alabama. I think based on what we know, it is not likely to be worse, but it certainly could prolong the current surge.”

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