Four cases of the highly contagious omicron variant have been confirmed in Calhoun County. These infections mark the first official reports of the variant in the county, but it is likely that this version of COVID-19 had already arrived. Several other West Michigan counties have reported their first cases of the variant in recent days and weeks.

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) notified the Calhoun County Public Health Department about the cases and a press release was put out Wednesday afternoon.

“The confirmed presence of the Omicron variant in Calhoun County aligns with estimates that it has become the predominant COVID-19 variant in our region. We must vaccinate, boost, mask, and also test frequently,” said Dr. William Nettleton, Medical Director of CCPHD.

The omicron variant is considered more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus. It follows the more deadly, but less contagious delta variant.

The following prevention strategies help reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus, prevent severe disease, and can help limit variants:

  • Vaccination (5 years and older) and booster doses for those eligible
  • Testing for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, 5 days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, and before gatherings
  • Mask wearing in public indoor spaces
  • Social distancing from others
  • Staying home if you are sick or have symptoms
  • Isolation if you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, and notification to your close contacts if you test positive
  • Quarantine if you were exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 rapid antigen testing and PCR testing are available to individuals of any age, regardless of symptoms.

"With Omicron here, the next 3-4 weeks are going to be difficult. We are going to see cases rise higher than ever before and disruptions to our lives will be obvious. But like we've gotten through the pandemic so far, we will get through this together as a community. Take the necessary steps to mitigate spread so we can get through this together." - Calhoun County Health Officer Eric Pessell

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