Coronavirus Skagit

With the omicron variant of COVID-19 having been found in Skagit County, Public Health officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated.

The omicron variant has been identified in three county residents, and it will continue to spread through the community, according to a news release from county Health Officer Howard Leibrand.

The three cases are not connected, and represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variant’s spread, Leibrand said.

Based on data on omicron’s spread, Leibrand estimates it likely represents 10% to 20% of the county’s active cases.

“Until we know more about omicron, every person should take steps to reduce their risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19,” he said.

Leibrand encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, and to get a booster dose if eligible. Masking, distancing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces and staying home when sick are still effective tools at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

While much is still unknown about this new variant, early evidence shows the existing vaccines are still effective at preventing serious illness, he said.

“New variants are unfortunate but expected, especially when there are still large percentages of our population who are unvaccinated,” Leibrand said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63% of county residents are fully vaccinated.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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