A sub-variant of the COVID-19 omicron variant has been identified in Ada County.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and Central District Health announced a confirmed infection of BA.2 sub-variant. The BA.1 omicron is currently causing 98% of COVID-19 infections in Idaho, according to IDHW. It is unclear how severe or infectious the sub-variant is, but IDHW reports data from Asia and Europe show there have not been major differences in disease severity or vaccine effectiveness.
Omicron sub-lineage BA.2 identified in Idaho; public health stresses importance of reducing the spread of COVID-19: https://t.co/MUmIFXxDuL— DHW (@IDHW) January 28, 2022
"The identification of the first infection with this sub-variant of omicron is a reminder that the virus that causes COVID-19 will continue to mutate as long as it is being transmitted, and is a reminder of the importance of vaccination and other measures to protect yourself from this virus," said Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist and the medical director for DHW’s Division of Public Health, in a statement. "We will continue to monitor this and future variants and are committed to transparency in informing the public what we know when we know it."
COVID-19 vaccines and treatments may become less effective as mutations continue to emerge and natural immunity from past infections may not be as protective against future variants, according to IDHW.
"It is important to take steps to reduce transmission to reduce the chance of mutations, and being up to date on vaccination is our best defense," said Central District Health’s Communicable Disease Control Manager Lindsay Haskell in a statement. "All of Idaho is currently in high transmission and now is the time that everyone should take action to help reduce the spread."