DC Health said during a call with the council Friday that they are monitoring the arrival of BA. 2 COVID-19 subvariant in the district.
DC Health said Friday that they are monitoring the arrival of BA. 2 COVID-19 omicron subvariant in the district.
The good news is that there are not many cases in DC, at least not yet.
Deputy Director Patrick Ashley told DC Council members during a call that “about four” samples were found last week. This week there were two.
Ashley said DC has signed a contract for “further variant monitoring going on now that we have not done before.”
He warned that BA. 2 subvariant – which has been referred to as the “stealth variant”, according to the AMA – is “more virulent than what we currently see circulating.”
“So we expect at some point that if it works as expected, it will overtake BA. 1… that’s just the way viruses work,” Ashley said, noting that was what health authorities saw with the delta variant that moved to omicron.
“The question we really should be asking, and we’re talking about, is: does this just replace the current issues in society at the rate we are at? Or does it cause further issues in society? And more importantly, does it cause further? morbidity and mortality? “
Ashley said the concern would be if DC were to see increased cases, as well as additional hospitalizations and deaths.
“It’s actually what we’re more aware of than what’s that kind of circulating variant right now,” Ashley said.
He urged residents who have not done so to be vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.
“By the time we think of it as the public as a whole, it’s too late,” Ashley said. “The message to voters is really about, ‘Now is the time to get vaccinated and boosted,’ especially among our seniors.”
Ashley said less than half of DC seniors have been given a booster.
“We know the booster provides the most protection. But… it takes two to three weeks to get that protection,” Ashley said. “Now is the time to get it, not when we discover we have more BA. 2, or whatever the next variant is now. “
While DC’s own indoor mask mandate expires in late February and business may still require them to be worn, City Administrator Kevin Donahue said the lifting of the mask mandate for schools “is not a conversation we have right now.”
He said there will be no change in masking policies for schools or educational environments.
However, updated guide from DC Health published Thursday says that children under 2 in childcare facilities must be quarantined for 10 days if they are exposed. Children from 2 years and up must be quarantined for a minimum of seven days.
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