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published on March 18, 2022 - 11:16 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A so-called “sublineage” of the Omicron variant has been detected by Madera County health officials who say it is even more transmissible than the original version.

There have also been 28 confirmed cases in Fresno County, said Interim Health Officer Rais Vohra said on Friday.

Vohra doesn’t anticipate another surge like the one experienced in January, saying the trend of downward infection levels are a positive sign. Wastewater surveillance efforts have also not detected a new, impending surge, he added.

The first known BA.2 omicron sublineage case was confirmed in a Madera County resident on March 16. Three more cases were confirmed March 17. The individuals have ended isolation, according to health officials. Three were unvaccinated and one was fully vaccinated.

The Omicron BA.1 variant contributed to the majority of cases from the surge early this year. Research suggests that BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1, but not more likely to lead to severe illness or hospitalization. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention projects that BA.2 currently makes up 23.1% of Covid-19 cases in the United States.

Omicron variant BA.2, which is causing a virus rebound in Europe and Asia, is gaining ground in the U.S., although overall cases here are still in decline, reported the Associated Press.

“Immunity begins to wane over time. It is important for Madera County residents to get boosted if it has been more than 5 months since you have received your second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, even if you were previously infected with COVID-19. For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should receive a booster after 2 months,” said Dr. Simon Paul, Madera County Public Health Officer.

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