March 28, 2022
Omicron BA.2 variant reported in Mobile County
MOBILE, Ala. — Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, has been notified of a Mobile County resident who has been infected with the Omicron BA.2 variant of COVID-19. The specimen was processed at a local laboratory that is under contract with the Mobile County Health Department.
Dr. Rendi Murphree, an Epidemiologist and the Director of MCHD’s Bureau of Disease Surveillance and Control, said the resident was infected with BA.2 in early March during travel to the northeastern United States. This is an area where BA.2 accounts for more than half of all new cases. The resident had mild symptoms and has fully recovered.
Here are some key points about the COVID-19 pandemic:
- COVID-19 Community Level is “Low” for Mobile County and most of the United States.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now estimates that Omicron BA.2 accounts for around 35 percent of new COVID-19 infections. It was 1 percent in February.
- Omicron BA.2 spreads 80 percent faster than Omicron BA.1.
- BA.2 is called the “stealth Omicron” because it looks like any other COVID detected by RT-PCR. BA.1 mutations caused S-gene target failure during amplification that suggested a sample contained BA.1 without genetic sequencing.
Dr. Michaels said it may be a few more weeks before we see the widespread person-to-person transmission of BA.2 in Mobile County, but it will happen. He emphasizes that it is important to stay up to date on your vaccinations; protect yourself during higher-risk activities (like travel), and get tested if you are sick or have been around anyone who is sick.
Current vaccines, most therapeutics, and testing platforms work for the Omicron BA.2 variant.
For more information on vaccinations and testing, please visit www.MCHDcares.com or call 251-410-MCHD (6243).