Mecklenburg County identifies two cases of ‘stealth omicron’ variant of COVID-19
There were two cases of the BA.2-like subvariant detected in Mecklenburg County in last week’s samples.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County health leaders have identified at least two positive cases of the so-called “stealth omicron” subvariant of COVID-19.
The subvariant - called BA.2 - is a mutation of the original omicron strain, called BA.1. BA.2 has also been dubbed as “stealth omicron,” according to the Washington Post, because its genetic traits make it difficult to detect with a PCR test, which could detect the original version of the variant.
According to Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington, there were two cases of the BA.2-like subvariant detected in Mecklenburg County in last week’s samples.
Officials say there is no evidence that this subvariant is not detectable by PCR and antigen testing.
So far, the subvariant has been found in at least 40 countries, including the United States. Some scientists worry it could be more contagious.
“The previous subvariant of Omicron had a unique profile on PCR tests that allowed for early indication that it was likely Omicron. The new subvariant does not have that same profile, but PCR and antigen tests still effectively detect the COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Washington said.
At this time, the World Health Organization has not classified this subvariant as a variant of concern.
Data from other countries where the subvariant is more predominant are being closely monitored. The UK Health Agency reported cases of BA.2 have been detected in 40 countries and was first reported in the Philippines. It is the dominant form of the virus in Denmark.
“There is no indication that we should be concerned or expect another surge at this time,” Dr. Washington said.
Mecklenburg County, Novant Health, and Atrium Health officials provided an update Wednesday on the latest COVID-19 statistics as the Omicron surge continues, and there have been some encouraging signs.
Novant Health Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Sid Fletcher says as of 10-12 days ago, the county reached its hospitalizations peak, with numbers of percent positivity and daily case counts beginning to slowly decline.
Numbers are still high, though, with the percent positivity rate remaining above 30 percent, far from the 5 percent goal, according to Meck County health director Dr. Raynard Washington.
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