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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Omicron Variant Is Responsible For 90 Percent Of New COVID Cases In King County

King County Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin says that people who are not fully vaccinated are 2.5 times more likely to develop COVID-19, 13 times more likely to be hospitalized and 27 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium

King County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin recently held a briefing to update the community on the status of the local fight against COVID.      

Duchin started the briefing by addressing the stress and fatigue that medical professionals are experiencing, especially now that COVID cases are on the rise again.

“First I want to start by acknowledging ongoing stress and fatigue and disruption that the COVID 19 pandemic is continuing to cause for our communities,” said Duchin. “And for all of you after two long years are feeling it, I know our team at Public Health is feeling it as they work as hard as they can to continue to support our community.”

According to Public Health, there have been 229,982 cases, 9,495 hospitalization and 2,197 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, and the Omicron variant has quickly become the dominant strain in the area.

“The speed of spread has been mindboggling,” says Duchin. “Our University of Washington colleagues estimate that the Omicron [variant] is currently responsible for 90 percent of local COVID-19 cases just a month after it was first detected.”

“In over the last seven days they have seen a record-breaking average of 3,323 cases each day,” says Duchin.

Because of Omicron’s ability to spread so rapidly the seven-day incident is at a very high level at 1,029 per 100,000 persons corresponding to a very high level of community transmission and that’s being seen across all age groups.

With the unvaccinated continuing to be at a very high risk of contracting the virus and suffering severe illness,

“In the 30 days through 22nd of December, people who are not fully vaccinated are 2.5 times more likely to develop COVID-19, 13 times more likely to be hospitalized and 27 times more likely to die from COVID-19,” says Duchin. “For example, January 2nd the risk of hospitalization of unvaccinated people was 10.6 per 100,000 per day, whereas for vaccinated people it was less than 1 per 100,000 persons per day at .92.”

Despite the surge in cases, Duchin says that the vaccines are still proving to be very effective in preventing severe cases and hospitalizations.

“Vaccines especially with the booster dose are holding up very well,” says Duchin. “Providing most people with excellent protection from what matters most serious infections.”

According to Public Health, with the Omicron variant even those that are vaccinated can contract and spread COVID, so it is still very important that everyone continue to abide by the precautionary protocols put in place to help prevent the spread of this disease.

“Because of transmission level being this high public health and the CDC warn against relying on vaccines alone,” Duchin said.  “And to utilize the same multiple layered of protection we have used in the past.”

The CDC recommendations are as follows: get vaccinated, wear a mask, stay six feet in distance from one another, avoid crowded and poorly ventilated places. Test to prevent spread to others, wash your hands often, cover when you cough or sneeze. Clean and disinfect your homes and frequently visited areas and monitor your health daily.

If you find yourself with symptoms health officials recommend, quarantine and staying home for at least 5 full days. Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home. Get tested Even if you don’t develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Testing and test site are in high demand many testing sites have had to close or operate at lower capacity due to weather impacts and staffing shortages due to staff developing covid. Teams are working hard to get back to full capacity.

Public Health Seattle-King County is doing all that can to provide rapid home test into the community. Seattle-King County has order 700,000 rapid test and on Monday 100,000 will become available.

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit kingcounty.gov/covid

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