The Omicron variant of COVID is now in several counties in West Virginia, including Kanawha and Marion.

But so far, it has not been detected in the Northern Panhandle.

But people who get a home test or a rapid test don’t get their sample tested for a variant.

That’s called sequence testing, and not even every PCR test sample is sequence-tested.

Ohio County Health Administrator Howard Gamble says while the numbers indicate Omicron is not here yet, chances are, it is.

“You should assume Omicron is present and circulating,” said Gamble. “We should also assume the predominant variant is Delta. And still is, for a little bit longer, until Omicron surpasses it. It doesn’t change the outcome of the virus. It doesn’t change the outcome of the treatment.”

Gamble says the variant has no bearing on whether your case will be mild or severe, or whether you will need monoclonal antibody treatment if you test positive.

He says the recommendations are still the same.

The best prevention is still vaccination and boosters, hand washing, avoiding crowds and masking up when in close contact with others.