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Latest COVID variant: Omicron

Latest COVID variant: Omicron
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:20 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - There is a new emerging COVID variant: Omicron. Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health, says the variant has arrived in the country.

“We just learned today there is a case of Omicron variant in California, so it’s in the United States,” said Kuhr. There is very little knowledge about the new variant.

According to Kuhr, it takes time to analyze the variant and become familiar with it. “It’s something you really don’t know until it’s been somewhere for a long enough time to see the characteristics for a longer group of people,” he explained.

The Delta variant ended up being more contagious and severe. “So, with Omicron, it’s still up in the air. I’ve heard more contagious or maybe as contagious as Delta. Severity wise, I don’t think anyone is sure on that yet,” said Kuhr.

Kuhr says the variant will have the ability to spread significantly before it’s detected, “We won’t know about it until about ten days until it gets here because the sequencing process takes that long to get the identification of the variant.”

The prevention measures remain the same: wearing a mask, washing hands, keeping a physical distance from others, and being fully vaccinated. The MCPH has decided to expand its hours.

“The demand is there especially with the boosters and even most recently when the recommendation from the CDC is that anyone can get a booster. So, we have to make room for that, so we have expanded our hours,” exclaimed Kuhr.

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