Minnesota health officials say Omicron subvariant could bring a wave of COVID-19 cases
Minnesota health officials say Omicron subvariant could bring a wave of COVID-19 cases

Minnesota health officials say Omicron subvariant could bring a wave of COVID-19 cases

The latest data from Minnesota’s wastewater monitoring program

More than two years after the pandemic began, doctors say COVID-19 is not going anywhere and they are warning of a sub-variant.

National and local health officials say a subvariant of Omicron, known as BA.2, could cause cases to rise again.

“We will see more waves. It’s almost, I would say guaranteed. We do not know exactly what omicron is doing. We do not know what COVID-19 will look like in the future,” Dr. George Morris, COVID chief physician with CentraCare Health told FOX 9.

Morris said he expects BA.2 will lead to more COVID-19 cases, but not as severe as the increases caused by the delta and the first omicron variant.

“I think we need to be prepared and plan for the next waves, and I feel like we can handle it. I feel like we can handle it without major shutdowns. Minor disruptions? Yes,” Morris said.

The Minnesota Department of Health said it sees an increase in the percentage of omicron cases that BA.2 takes into account in its monitoring data, but it does not see a corresponding increase in overall cases yet.

Morris said that with the cases he sees, they have not translated into a major increase in serious illness, including hospitalizations or deaths. He said the good news is that people have extra protection against the vaccines and that there is likely to be a residual immunity from those who were sick from the last variants.

However, there is still reason to be cautious.

“We do not know who has chronic diseases. We do not know who has a bad immune response. And that is why we really need to think about ourselves in this broader society,” he said.

Doctors say there are still risks at large gatherings. Being vaccinated and boosted will help reduce these risks, along with staying home when someone is not feeling well.

“Have a backup plan: What should I do if it’s my niece’s wedding and I can not go? Send a card,” he said.

With spring holidays, such as Easter and Easter coming soon, Morris said, people should think about their elderly family members and think about holding gatherings outside.

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