Omicron variant identified in Cass County

Published 5:56 pm Monday, January 10, 2022

CASS COUNTY — Monday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services notified Van Buren/Cass District Health Department that the Omicron variant has been identified in a Cass County resident.

“Although between Cass and Van Buren County there are now two Omicron variants identified, we can safely assume there are many others given the speed at which Omicron spreads.  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, health officials said.

According to the health department, the following prevention strategies help reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus and can help limit variants:

  • Vaccination (5 years and older) and booster doses for those eligible
  • Testing for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, 5 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

COVID-19 rapid antigen testing and PCR testing are available to individuals of any age, regardless of symptoms.