ALPENA, Mich. — The Omicron variant has reached Northeast Michigan.
Officials from the local health department received confirmation on Thursday that the latest variant of concern was diagnosed from a sample taken in late December. The Omicron variant is notable for its ability to spread more easily than other strains, though its symptoms are potentially less severe.
However, Dr. Josh Meyerson, Medical Director for DHD 4, said that’s still enough to put stress on our local healthcare system.
“Case numbers go up drastically. And that’s what they’re seeing in other parts of the country and other parts of the state. I don’t think we’ve quite seen that yet in the Alpena area. But I would anticipate we would. I don’t see why we would be any different.”
Given that only a few samples are examined on the genetic level, officials say there’s almost certainly more than just one case in the region.
Meyerson urged that you get vaccinated if you haven’t already, because it reduces your odds of severe illness.
He also advised mask–wearing and continued social distancing.