Local health officials monitor the Omicron BA2 variant

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Health Officials are monitoring a new COVID variant that’s spreading in other countries.

The Omicron BA2 variant makes up for 12 percent of COVID cases in Georgia.

Health officials at Memorial Health and the Chatham County Health department say it’s difficult to say if the Omicron BA2 subvariant will cause a threat in Savannah like the Omicron variant in December and January.

However, BA2 may be more contagious and just as harmful as the Omicron variant.

“We’re not seeing huge upticks in cases really in any state and not in the state of Georgia.”

As China is in lockdown because of the uptick in cases, Memorial Health’s Associate Medical Chief Dr. Stephen Thacker says he’s hopeful the case count won’t be as high here because there were less lockdowns in America.

“We have much more natural infection throughout our communities than say China does per say, but I do think we should be watching what’s happening in the United Kingdom as a red flag of what could come to us in the US,” Dr. Thacker said.

According to the UK Government website COVID cases are up 100 percent in the past seven days.

Chatham County Health Department Administrator Dr. Chris Rustin says the variant comes with ups and downs.

“The good news about this variant is it seems to have less severe clinical outcomes, but the bad news is just by a sheer number of cases, a percentage of those folks may end up hospitalized and what that does is it puts a strain on our hospital system, so that’s the real big concern and that’s what we saw during the Omicron surge,” Dr. Rustin said.

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