Monday, June 27, 2022
June 27, 2022

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Omicron variant confirmed in Clark County; one case linked to wrestling outbreaks

Two cases of the COVID-19 variant found through state health department testing

By , Columbian Web Editor
Published:
Two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Clark County as the variant sweeps over the region. One of the cases is linked to outbreaks among high school wrestling teams in the state.

Both omicron cases in Clark County are among people who are fully vaccinated, according to Clark County Public Health. While breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are occurring, the COVID-19 vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection with the omicron variant.

The omicron variant was first detected in Washington on Dec. 4, with cases in the Seattle area. On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week. Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73 percent of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday. It’s responsible for an estimated 90 percent of new infections in the Pacific Northwest.

The state notified Clark County Public Health of the local omicron cases over the weekend.

Molecular and antigen COVID-19 tests detect infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including infections from variants of the virus. But to determine which variant is causing the infection, specimens must be sent to a laboratory for genomic sequencing, Public Health said in a statement. Not all specimens are submitted for sequencing so the number of omicron cases in Clark County and Washington is likely much higher. The University of Washington Virology Lab estimates that more than 50 percent of specimens submitted for sequencing have genetic markers associated with omicron and are likely omicron cases.

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide the best protection against infection from the omicron variant and others,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “I urge anyone who is not yet vaccinated or who hasn’t received their booster dose to do so as soon as possible.”

Everyone age 5 years and older is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Those 16 and older are eligible for booster doses:

  • six months after completing the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna series
  • two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Wrestling outbreak

Public Health continues to work with local school districts to investigate COVID-19 cases among athletes and coaches on Southwest Washington wrestling teams.

As of Monday morning, Public Health had identified 34 cases among athletes and coaches at six Clark County schools. Public Health has identified seven wrestling events associated with these cases. The events occurred in Clark County and elsewhere in the state in the last two weeks.

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