Virginia testing for COVID-19 omicron variant, governor waiting for more information

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 2:56 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:14 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia’s governor is urging calm as concern spreads about the COVID-19 omicron variant.

“We shouldn’t panic, but we should pay attention,” said Governor Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health is testing for the new variant. So far, health officials say it has not been detected. Monday afternoon, Governor Northam said he assumes the new variant is already in the Commonwealth.

“I think we’re tired of COVID and we thought that it was in our rear view mirror and then we had the delta variant and then another spike in cases,” said Northam.

Governor Northam offered up his thoughts about why there appears to be so much concern right now over omicron, especially since we’ve had other variants before, including the now-dominate delta.

“The way viruses continue to survive is they mutate and each mutation can be more contagious and it can have more symptoms that go along with so that’s why every time there’s a new variant out there we have to pay attention to it,” said Northam.

While health officials say the omicron variant appears to be more transmissible, the good news for now, it appears symptoms aren’t any worse meaning hospitals aren’t filling up.

As for any mitigation response, as always, Governor Northam says they have plans, should omicron become an issue. But he’s not doing anything until more information comes back about how well vaccines hold up against severe symptoms.

“All options are on the table but right now we’re not doing anything differently. We’re encouraging people to get vaccinated,” said Northam.

The Northam administration is urging COVID-19 vaccines and boosters as a means to keep the new variant at bay. He says the state has ample supply of vaccine doses for those who haven’t been vaccinated at all, or need a booster.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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