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Health and Medicine

Oregon is now tracking omicron subvariant BA.2

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

While the omicron subvariant BA.2 is more transmissible than previous coronavirus variants, the Oregon Health Authority said experts have not yet found evidence it causes more severe COVID-19 infection.

Starting Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 daily data update dashboard and variants dashboard now specify the omicron BA.2 subvariant separately from the other omicron subvariants.

This includes the total people who tested positive with variant and the proportion of COVID-19 diagnoses involving the variant in Oregon over time.

At the beginning of the month, the health authority announced it was monitoring samples from positive COVID-19 tests and wastewater to determine where BA.2 is present around the state.

While the omicron subvariant BA.2 is more transmissible than previous coronavirus variants, the state health agency said experts have not yet found evidence it causes more severe COVID-19 infection. The BA.2 subvariant is now responsible for at least 35% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., authorities say.

The health authority also announced Wednesday that more than 7,000 people in Oregon have died of COVID-related causes, even as the state continues to see declines in how many people are presently hospitalized.

On March 15, Oregon crossed the threshold of 700,000 COVID-19 diagnoses since the start of the pandemic. Oregon ranks second-lowest among states in the number of cases per capita with 16,596 cases for every 100,000 people.

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