Department of Health: Be concerned about the omicron variant | News, Sports, Jobs

MARQUETTE – The public should be concerned about the arrival of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, said Dr. Bob Lorinser, medical director of the Marquette County Department of Health.

“As we eagerly monitor the possibility of ending this nearly 4.5 month wave of the Delta Variant in our community by decreasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we should be concerned about the arrival of omicron “, Lorinser said in a press release Monday. “Health experts warn that the highly contagious variant of COVID-19, omicron, is expected to cause the largest increase in COVID-19 infections in the coming months. “

The local rate of serious infections, hospitalizations and death will depend on previous vaccination coverage, prior natural immunity and risk factors such as age and obesity, he said.

Lorinser said the MCHD as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges people to get vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, as soon as possible and to receive a booster as soon as they are eligible. to help prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Lorinser issued a warning regarding the omicron variant.

“Once omicron is in a community, it will be nearly impossible to contain, making vaccines and boosters essential to protect people from serious illness.” he said. “So much is still unknown about omicron, and the data may change.”

MCHD makes these points:

≤ Two-dose vaccines offer little or no omicron protection, unlike protection from the delta variant. As a result, people who receive two doses are just as vulnerable to omicron infection as people who are not vaccinated.

≤ People who have received booster shots have better protection – around 75% – compared to 90% with delta, and early data indicates that boosters provide “substantial” protection against serious diseases caused by omicron. The data collected so far show a faster decrease in protection after the primary vaccination than with the delta variants or other variants. The CDC recommends boosters six months after the primary series.

In Marquette County, only 39% of the population over 40 is fully vaccinated with a primary injection plus a booster, and 28% of all ages eligible for a booster dose are fully immunized.

≤ Early evidence suggests that omicron is two to three times more contagious than the delta variant, making it four to six times more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus.

≤ The risk of infection with omicron is five times higher than with delta, with protection against early infection as low as 19%.

≤ There is no evidence that omicron infections are less severe than delta in hospitalization and death rates.

Lorinser pointed out that the best way to protect individuals and their communities, especially people over 40, is to get vaccinated with three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. Anyone who received the initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also advised to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine two months after the initial dose.

The booster starts working within seven days, he said.

People who prefer to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will continue to have access to it, as will people who cannot receive an mRNA vaccine, he said. However, people with a history of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia – a condition defined as clotting of the blood with a low number of platelets – should not receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

With the presence of omicron and the holidays ahead, Lorinser recommends that people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu; test before joining gatherings with other people outside their home and before and after travel, regardless of vaccination status, when exposed or sick; and wear a mask indoors in public, even if they are vaccinated.

LMAS omicron addresses

The Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft district health service also takes care of the omicron variant.

“As Luce, Mackinac, Algiers and Schoolcraft counties continue to battle the delta variant of COVID-19, we are starting to see a much more serious picture of the latest variant, omicron,” he said in a Monday ad. “While there are still many unknowns about the omicron variant, we are learning more every day. “

However, LMAS acknowledged that on the positive side, vaccines still appear to be effective in preventing hospitalizations and death, but less effective in preventing infection as a whole. He noted that in addition to spreading at a rapid rate – in some places cases of omicron are doubling every two or three days – it also appears that only one of the three monoclonal treatments may be effective against infections with omicron.

“This will mean that there may not be enough monoclonal treatments for everyone who needs them.” says LMAS. “This could put additional strain on our healthcare system and more deaths.

“This is the time for all of us to recognize the gravity of our current situation with the delta and the growing concerns about the omicron variant. We each have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and others. We all need to use basic public health measures to slow the spread, reduce the burden on hospitals, and protect the lives of members of our communities. The tools are at our disposal, but we must work together to make them effective.

LMAS has several basic public health mitigation strategies:

Individuals should be vaccinated or given a booster if they have not yet received them.

Wear a mask in indoor public spaces or other crowded spaces. Face masks are effective in reducing the risk of infection. This includes visiting friends and families over the next vacation.

≤ Get tested for COVID-19 if they don’t feel well or think they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID.

≤ Stay home when sick, except for medical treatment.

Visit LMASDHD.org to find vaccination and testing opportunities in the region.

Choose the right places for health care

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources has said that in order to take all the necessary steps to ease the burden on Michigan’s health systems, Michigan residents should choose the right location for medical needs.

Michigan’s health systems continue to be overloaded with COVID-19 patients, the majority of whom are unvaccinated, the MDHHS said. From January 15 to December 3, 85.1% of COVID-19 cases, 88.1% of hospitalizations and 85.5% of deaths were in people who were not fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to be mostly preventable by receiving one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the MDHHS said.

“We all need to do our part to get vaccinated and boosted to keep ourselves, our families and our neighbors safe. “ MDHHS medical director Dr Natasha Bagdasarian said in a statement. “In addition to getting the vaccine, it’s important to maintain your routine medical care so that any potential illnesses are detected early and can be much more manageable. We urge the Michiganders to continue seeking medical attention, but avoid emergency services unless they have a life-threatening illness. “

Anyone who does not have a primary care provider is encouraged to find one by contacting their local health system.

Illnesses can be treated in a variety of health care settings depending on the severity of the symptoms. The MDHHS said Michiganders facing life-threatening emergencies should always seek treatment by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency department.

According to the MDHHS, individuals should call a health care provider for a virtual or in-person appointment or see an emergency care provider for conditions such as a cold or flu, sprains, rashes or minor burns, ear pain, animal or insect bites, allergies, or a COVID-19 test.

The MDHHS said to call 911 or visit an emergency department for life-threatening medical conditions or emergencies such as a heart attack or stroke, choking, head injuries, severe burns, severe chest pain or pressure, fractures, uncontrolled bleeding, or severe respiratory distress.

People with minor symptoms such as sniffling or coughing should get tested for COVID-19, the MDHHS said. To receive a flu or COVID-19 vaccine, visit a pharmacy or vaccination clinic or VaccineFinder.org to find a location nearby.

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