XBB.1.5 on its way to being predominant COVID-19 subvariant

Available in Spanish Since it was first identified in late October (in New York), Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 has rapidly outcompeted other Omicron subvariants and is believed to now represent more than 70% of cases in the northeast United States. XBB.1.5 comprised an estimated 27.6% of COVID-19 cases in the United States during the first week […]

New COVID-19 subvariants on the rise

Available in Spanish Health officials are closely monitoring new subvariants of Omicron—BA.4.6, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. New variants and subvariants of the COVID-19 virus emerge regularly, and changes in their genetic codes sometimes make them more contagious. Here are a few things to know about the new subvariants: Public health officials are constantly monitoring COVID-19 variants […]

What we know about Omicron COVID-19 subvariant BA.2

You may have heard of the BA.2 variant of the COVID-19 virus. BA.2 is a subvariant of Omicron, meaning it’s too genetically related to the original Omicron strain (BA.1) to be classified as a new variant. So far, BA.2 has caused less than 1% of COVID-19 cases in Oregon. What do we know about BA.2? […]

Wastewater surveillance program expected to detect Omicron spread in communities

Scientists in Oregon are searching for the Omicron variant somewhere you may not expect. In collaboration with Oregon State University (OSU), Oregon Health Authority’s wastewater surveillance program monitors sewage for variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The program launched in September 2020 tests wastewater for COVID-19 in more than 40 communities throughout the state, covering more than 60 percent of Oregon’s population. All positive wastewater samples are sequenced to determine trends (increasing, decreasing, plateau) and which variants are circulating in communities. 

Public health officials monitor Omicron and are prepared to respond

There is still much to learn about the Omicron variant of COVID-19. We do know that viruses mutate or change constantly. To help you better understand how Oregon is monitoring this new variant and for a broad look at where we are now, we turned to Dr. Thomas Jeanne, deputy state health officer and deputy state epidemiologist, and Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Much still unknown about the Omicron variant. Here’s what we know today.

The news of the Omicron variant emerging in several countries may cause many people anxiety about the unknown. The news comes on top of pandemic fatigue, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue, and as we continue to deal with nearly two year’s worth of disruptions to our daily lives.

What you need to know about virus variants

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to sort through all the information we come across. The Delta variant continues to be in the headlines, but other variants are in the news as well. You may be wondering what a variant is, and how common are different types of variants.   Viruses like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes […]

Will vaccines protect from the variants? The answer is “yes”

The good news keeps coming on the authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The current data suggests the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer protection against severe illness and death caused by all variants of COVID-19. On Wednesday, May 12, OHA Senior Health Advisor Melissa Sutton and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) assistant professor of medicine (infectious disease) […]

‘If you are eligible, please get vaccinated’

On May 7, Dr. Dean Sidelinger, State Health Officer and State Epidemiologist, recorded a brief video to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in Oregon. In the recording, Dr. Sidelinger discusses how Oregon is currently confronting new and highly transmissible variants throughout the state and calls on all people eligible for a vaccine to schedule an appointment. You can watch the full video […]

Relaxed precautions, social gatherings and the B.1.1.7. variant increase the spread

You may be wondering why cases have been on the rise recently, especially as we see an increase in vaccination across the state. There are two answers to this question – variants that are more transmissible and increased social gatherings without face coverings.   The CDC and OHA are closely monitoring variants of concern (VOC). VOCs are variants that have mutations in the virus […]