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Omicron sub-lineage BA.2 found in Idaho

The sub-variant of the omicron variant is not the variant causing the vast majority of COVID-19 omicron cases in Idaho,
Health experts are keeping a close eye on a spinoff of Omicron called BA.2.
Health experts are keeping a close eye on a spinoff of Omicron called BA.2.
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 12:19 PM MST
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ADA COUNTY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Friday morning they are confirming the first confirmed infection with the BA.2 sub-variant of the COVID-19 omicron variant in Ada County.

“The identification of the first infection with this sub-variant of Omicron is a reminder that the virus that causes COVID-19 will continue to mutate as long as it is being transmitted, and is a reminder of the importance of vaccination and other measures to protect yourself from this virus,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist and the medical director for DHW’s Division of Public Health. “We will continue to monitor this and future variants and are committed to transparency in informing the public what we know when we know it.”

The sub-variant of the omicron variant is not the variant causing the vast majority of COVID-19 omicron cases in Idaho, as the BA.1 variant has been linked to 98% of all COVID-19 infections in Idaho.

This makes the severity of the BA.2 sub-variant unknown, according to Health and Welfare officials, though they note that early data from Asia and Europe seem to indicate no major differences in disease severity or the effectiveness of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines against the BA.2 sub-lineage.

“It is important to take steps to reduce transmission to reduce the chance of mutations, and being up to date on vaccination is our best defense,” said Central District Health’s Communicable Disease Control Manager Lindsay Haskell. “All of Idaho is currently in high transmission and now is the time that everyone should take action to help reduce the spread.”

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