Omicron surge continues in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. – The omicron variant of COVID-19 has emerged because the predominant variant in North Dakota. The most recent spherical of variant testing resulted in 130 out of 142 (91.5%) sequenced specimens confirmed to be omicron. From this pattern, the North Dakota Division of Well being (NDDoH) estimates that the omicron variant is now prone to be not less than 90% of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in North Dakota.

Omicron instances have elevated dramatically, leading to file instances reported in a single day. This variant seems to be milder than earlier variants; nevertheless, omicron is so contagious that the sheer variety of sufferers is flooding hospitals and clinics with sick individuals. The rise in instances can also be inflicting disruption in well being care system and faculties as extra individuals want to remain house as a result of they’re contaminated or are caring for somebody who’s unwell.

“This week, we’ve seen file numbers of optimistic instances of COVID-19,” mentioned Kirby Kruger, NDDoH Illness Management and Forensic Pathology part chief. “We’ve seen numbers climb in our communities and faculties and amongst people of all ages. Right this moment, there are three kids beneath the age of 5 who’re within the hospital on account of COVID-19. Whereas this variant is milder for some, we must always not underestimate how critical this virus is, and we must always every take proactive measures to guard in opposition to an infection.”

COVID-19 vaccination continues to be the best technique to stop extreme an infection, together with hospitalization and demise, because of the omicron variant. Everybody age 5 and older are really helpful to be vaccinated. People over age 12, who’ve accomplished their major collection greater than 5 months in the past for Pfizer or Moderna, or two months in the past for Johnson and Johnson, ought to obtain a booster dose. Being updated with vaccinations, together with booster doses, stays the only greatest technique to stop critical sickness, hospitalization and demise on account of COVID-19.  

“Monoclonal antibodies have been extremely efficient as a remedy to forestall hospitalization and demise amongst people who’re at excessive threat and develop into contaminated with COVID-19,” mentioned Tim Wiedrich, NDDoH Well being Sources and Response part chief. “Solely one of many three out there monoclonal therapies for these with delicate or average sickness is efficient in opposition to omicron.”

The provision of antivirals and monoclonal antibodies is extraordinarily restricted in the USA and North Dakota. This week, the State obtained solely 72 doses of sotrovimab, the one monoclonal antibody remedy which works effectively in opposition to omicron. Consequently, well being care suppliers must prioritize who receives remedy, and remedy choices shall be restricted for individuals recognized with COVID-19.

“People shouldn’t delay vaccination and depend on monoclonal antibody or antiviral remedy after they develop into sick. Vaccination, together with boosters, is the easiest way to forestall extreme sickness and defend in opposition to hospitalization and demise,” mentioned Wiedrich.

The antibody infusions aren’t supposed for individuals who are already very sick and needs to be given as quickly as potential after a optimistic take a look at outcome and inside ten days of symptom onset. Those that are at elevated threat for extreme COVID-19 illness and have examined optimistic for COVID-19 ought to contact their well being care supplier as quickly as potential to debate the choice of remedy. Individuals who might have a compromised immune system could also be eligible for the preventive monoclonal antibodies and may seek the advice of with their well being care supplier.

People who find themselves at elevated threat for COVID-19 might embrace, however aren’t restricted to, individuals older than age 65 or these with underlying well being circumstances corresponding to most cancers, persistent kidney illness, persistent liver illness, persistent lung illness, dementia or neurological circumstances, diabetes (each kind I or kind II), Down syndrome, coronary heart circumstances, HIV, or a weakened immune system.

“There are methods we as people can defend ourselves and people round us. Easy actions can have a optimistic impression on slowing the unfold of illness in our communities,” mentioned Kruger.

Measures that may scale back the chance of spreading COVID-19 embrace:

•           Staying at house when unwell and getting examined for COVID-19

•           Self-isolating for at least 5 days in case you have COVID-19

•           Social distancing when round others

•           Avoiding giant crowds

•           Sporting a well-fitting masks in indoor public areas

•           Self-quarantining if you’re an in depth contact

•           Testing on day 5 of quarantine if you’re an in depth contact

•           Practising good hand hygiene


For extra details about instances in North Dakota, the omicron variant, isolation and quarantine steering, monoclonal antibody remedy or vaccines, please go to the NDDoH web site at www.well

Individuals who have just lately been recognized with COVID-19 and wish additional help can name the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-866-207-2880.