PORTSMOUTH — On December 1, the CDC released a health advisory regarding the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) that was labeled as a variant of concern on November 26, 2021.
While first detected in South Africa, by December 1, the Omicron variant had been detected in at least 20 other countries, including the United States, Israel, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several European countries. In some countries, such as Germany and Portugal, there is evidence of community transmission of Omicron.
This new variant has several mutations that could potentially cause it to be more easily spread and increase its resistance to COVID-19 therapies and vaccines. It is currently unknown how fast this variant can spread between people. Because of this, the health departments are asking residents to be vigilant during this holiday season.
Luckily there are a few things residents can do to keep their families safe from COVID-19 during the holidays.
· If you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID, consider receiving your first dose.
· If you are vaccinated, consider getting a vaccine booster prior to any large gatherings if you have not yet done so.
· Wear a mask around family and friends at high risk for severe illness regardless of vaccine status.
· Read up on CDC’s travel recommendations if you have to travel.
· If you are experiencing any symptoms, please refrain from gatherings and get tested for Covid-19 at a local testing site.
If you develop any symptoms associated with COVID-19 the health departments strongly recommend getting tested. Common symptoms include:
· Fever or chills
· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
· Muscle or body aches
· New loss of taste or smell
· Sore throat
· Congestion or runny nose
· Nausea or vomiting
Testing is available at SOMC and KDMC urgent cares. Please call the following numbers to schedule a test.
SOMC Care line- (740)356-CARE
KDMC scheduling- (606)408-COVD
If you would like more information on the Omicron variant, please see the CDC brief below: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/scientific-brief-omicron-variant.html
CDC Travel Considerations Webpage https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
If you have further questions or concerns, please contact the Portsmouth City Health Clinic at: 740-353-8863.