Wyoming is “exploding” with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, according to Natrona County’s health officer, who urged people to get their booster shots of the vaccine to keep from being infected.
Dr. Mark Dowell took to social media to discuss the Omicron variant of COVID and to encourage more people to get their vaccinations and booster shots.
“The state is exploding with cases,” Dowell said. “We have not peaked yet. There are 150 people statewide in the hospital. This is a very contagious variant.”
Dowell said some testing sites in Casper are reporting back a 40% positivity rate for infections, one of the highest seen since the pandemic began.
“The people that are really getting into trouble with this don’t have good immune systems,” he said. “Nationally, only a third of people have received their booster. That makes no sense. Why go to the trouble of getting the original vaccine series and let your protection go down and not get boosted?”
The health officer said that while he understood people had “COVID fatigue,” it was better than actually getting sick from the virus.
Dowell said he is pushing for the booster because the long-term effects of COVID are still unknown. He added he has seen people with “brain fog” and even neurological issues months after their COVID diagnosis.
Unless the entire community gets immunized against COVID, Dowell warned that more and more variants may continue to pop up, as Delta and Omicron and other variants have so far.
He also suggested that people take advantage of the free COVID testing kits that can be ordered through the U.S. Postal Service.
“I still don’t want this and neither do you,” he said. “Let’s hope that by the end of February, all of this is calming down rapidly.”
Cowboy State Daily was unable to connect with Dowell in person by publication time.
As of Tuesday, Wyoming had 5,255 active COVID cases, a decline of 285 from Monday.
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The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.