Ohio Valley health official says Omicron variant “more than likely” in the U.S.

Ohio County

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Many questions remain as scientists try and understand the new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus.

The biggest question is probably is it in the United States yet?

Health officials across the world are working to determine how transmissible this Omicron variant is, where it’s coming from and how strong it will be for those infected.

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department emphasized that there’s no reason to panic. Health officials still encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and advise to be cautious in large groups where you  may need to social distance or wear masks. 

The original virus is still there and the original vaccine for that virus is still here. Yes, it does limit death and disability as a result of being infected ,and so by all means get vaccinated. It’ll slow down if you happen to be infected, it’ll slow down the virus within the system and keep you out of the hospital.

Howard Gamble, Administrator, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

They add that it’s especially important now to stay home if you’re sick and get tested because the new variant may already be in the U.S. 

Is it within the United States borders? More than likely, but the only way you identify it is through sequence testing. So, someone has to get tested. Then that test is sent out to sequence to say ‘yes we have that variant in this location’.

Howard Gamble, Administrator, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

Gamble explained the process was the same with the Delta variant. However, he said now we can assume most of the new COVID cases are Delta. 

The health department also reminds the public they’re vaccinating daily at the clinic at the Highlands and testing is available at the former OVMC site. 

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