Washoe County District Health officials said today the new COVID-19 variant, omicron, has not yet been detected in Washoe County. Omicron has been making the news because of how different the virus is from previous COVID variants.
“We do not have any confirmed cases of omicron,” Health Officer Kevin Dick said today during a COVID-19 media briefing. “Some of the early information that we have received is encouraging so far. While it looks like the variant is very contagious, more contagious than the Delta variant, so far it does not seem to be resulting in as much severe illness.”
The Pfizer booster is reported to be effective against omicron. Pfizer’s CEO said the company announced that three doses of the company’s vaccine neutralizes omicron–though, that is based on preliminary laboratory results.
“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO. “Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Dick echoed the recommendation that vaccines remain the best way to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
“It also appears that those [who] are fully vaccinated also have some protection from severe illness with the omicron variant,” Dick added. “So [it’s] good news that vaccinations are still a great preventive measure and are highly encouraged for people even with the omicron variant as an effective way to avoid developing severe disease and to reduce your potential of developing illness at all.”
Region remains in ‘high’ risk range
Washoe County remains in the high range for the risk of COVID-19’s continued spread, but Dick said the seven-day moving average appears to be on a slight decline.
“As far as our new case numbers, our seven day moving average is 87.6, and we have 89 cases that were reported today,” Dick said. “Overall, looking at a longer time period, we’re kind of just bouncing along at a plateau level of new cases per day, so … I guess I feel fortunate so far that we haven’t seen a significant big increase from the Thanksgiving holiday and travel.”