Fast-spreading omicron found in Snohomish County

The county’s top health official said omicron would likely overtake the delta variant in the next month or two.

The coronavirus omicron variant has been detected in Snohomish County, prompting health officials to remind people to get vaccinated and mask up. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)

The coronavirus omicron variant has been detected in Snohomish County, prompting health officials to remind people to get vaccinated and mask up. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)

EVERETT — Omicron, the coronavirus variant on track to become the dominant strain, has been detected in Snohomish County, health officials announced Friday.

The state Department of Health reported at least one omicron case in the county, according to the Snohomish Health District. More details about the case were not available.

“This shouldn’t come as a surprise given recent detection throughout the Puget Sound region,” Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said in a news release. “It serves as a reminder to complete vaccination, get a booster as soon as possible once eligible, continue masking in public, maximize ventilation of indoor spaces, and keep up with all other public health measures.”

Spitters projected it would overtake the delta variant in the next month or two.

The rise of fast-moving omicron has alarm bells ringing around the world as officials warn of another winter of increased spread. In Snohomish County, case counts reached 463 per 100,000 residents in the final months of 2020. That number wasn’t surpassed until this summer, with the rise of delta, when there were nearly 500 cases per 100,000 people.

The number currently sits around 300.

Meanwhile, King County health officials predicted that by next week the case count there could be three times as great as the previous peak of the pandemic.

High school wrestling tournaments earlier this month resulted in multiple COVID-19 outbreaks, with several cases confirmed as the omicron variant.

Little is known about omicron’s threat. Early evidence suggests it could lead to illness less severe than that of other strains. A study in South Africa, where the variant was first detected, indicated hospital admissions were lower during the first omicron wave than in previous surges. That could stem from vaccination and past infections, South African officials have said. But the country has seen its fastest increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Vaccination appointments are available for those 12 and older at the Ash Way Park & Ride on I-5 near Lynnwood. It’s usually open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed Dec. 23-26.

And you can get tested for COVID-19 at 3715 Oakes Ave. in Everett Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or at the Ash Way site on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you lack internet access or need language assistance, you can also call the Health District at 425-339-5278 to set up vaccination or testing.

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