Verdict is out if Omicron is the primary COVID-19 strain in Southern Oregon

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – With the holiday season over and a new year has arrived COVID-19 cases are increasing. Local public health officials say there’s still so much they are learning about the new Omicron Variant as it begins to impact our region.

It’s a line you can see all the way from I-5, but it’s not necessarily negative.

“With people getting tested, that is a good sign in that people are trying to be very conscientious about whether they’ve got COVID or the flu,” said Lauren Van Sickle, Asante.

She says on average its South Medford Collection Site sees 200 people per day. Its Grants Pass site sees about 80.

“The increase is due to the holidays, we’ll probably continue to see those numbers increase,” said Van Sickle.

Whether people are erring on the side of caution or seeing symptoms, COVID-19 cases are increasing. But Klamath County Public Health said it’s seeing more positive cases with less severe symptoms. That aligns with what the CDC says about the Omicron Variant – it’s more contagious than previous strains of COVID-19. While symptoms are often milder though, it does present risks to some.

“The fact that people are having less severe symptoms indicates that it probably is beginning to be more Omicron than we thought,” said Valeree Lane, Klamath Co. Public Health.

But the verdict is still out if omicron is the primary strain we’re seeing in our community.

Klamath County Public Health says while this variant is less severe, it’s still important to take precautions. Wear a mask and if you aren’t already vaccinated get vaccinated.

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Katie Streit
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]