Omicron variant identified in Van Buren County

Published 5:23 pm Monday, January 3, 2022

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has notified Van Buren/Cass District Health Department that the Omicron variant has been identified in a Van Buren County resident.

“It was only a matter of time until the Omicron variant made its way to our district but the latest identification further emphasizes the importance of testing, especially after the holidays.  With limited testing availability, it is ever more important to keep wearing masks in public and self-quarantining if you have been exposed to COVID-19,” said Danielle Persky, health officer, VBCDHD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Omicron variant will likely spread more easily. 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.

The following prevention strategies help reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus and can help limit variants, officials said:

  • Vaccination (5 years and older) and booster doses for those eligible
  • Testing for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, five days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, especially before gatherings
  • Mask wearing in public indoor spaces
  • Social distancing from others
  • Staying home if you are sick or have symptoms
  • Isolation if you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms
  • Notify your close contacts if you test positive
  • Quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19
  • Follow recommendations for traveling

For more information, visit vbcassdhd.org or www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.