DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The new COVID-19 strain omicron was first detected in South Africa, and while cases haven’t been confirmed yet here in the U.S., Premier Health Regional Medical Dr. Joseph Allen says he’s not surprised we’re seeing a new strain.
“This is just the next curveball. This is a new thing that we’re seeing. Interesting, it’s going to be interesting to follow and see what happens with it,” said Dr. Allen. “We had variants that popped up that nothing came up. We had other variants pop up that hey they caused a pretty substantial impact.”
Dara Sorensen lives in Greene County and says she’s not worried about the new strain just yet. “The way I see it…it’s a virus and they mutate. The flu mutates every year and we have new shots for that every year,” said Sorensen. “We’ve been so inundated with COVID stuff for the last two years that I think either you’re just going to be really just annoyed by it because it’s more coming and you’re just like I’m done with it. Or you could be just in the other direction. Always living in fear and being nervous about everything.”
For now, Dr. Allen says his motto is to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best when it comes to omicron and COVID-19 as a whole. “You don’t wanna be unprepared if something comes up. But, at the same time I don’t want people to get bent out of shape about something we don’t even know is gonna happen just yet.”
Public health workers in the Miami Valley are also staying vigilant about the new strain, but remain focused on the task at hand — preventing delta cases from spreading.
“We had over 300 cases again last week, showing we’re not getting a dip anymore in the numbers. In fact, they’ve been rising slightly over the past two or three weeks. If we get a bump after Thanksgiving, we’ll start to see that even by Friday of this week,” said Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson.
Patterson is encouraging more people to think about vaccination, along with boosters. “It’s the fight we have with delta right now. Second of all, it’s possible these vaccines could still help us in the fight against something like omicron.”
In Dayton and Montgomery County, Public Health Supervisor Dan Suffoletto says he’s also concerned about spread of both the delta and omicron variants. “Unfortunately, across the United states and here locally we don’t have enough people overall vaccinated. We’re seeing good numbers in elderly people that’s good. But, we wanna remind them they need to get their booster doses. But in our younger group, that five to 30 year old age group, that’s where we’re lagging.”
With just 49% of Clark County’s overall population vaccinated, Patterson is urging them to get the shot before Christmas. “With as much travel as we saw this weekend, record levels of travel across the United States, we certainly expect to see increased levels of delta.”
For details on Clark County Combined Health District’s vaccination clinics, click here.
For Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County’s vaccination clinic information, click here.