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Omicron confirmed locally

A new wave of COVID-19 infection hit the Copper Country in the week ending January 12th, a precursor to the news released by the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department this weekend. Omicron is confirmed in at least one area case and Chief Health Officer Kate Beer says that is assuredly an undercount. “It is important to know that not all COVID tests are sequenced. With the rapid rise in case counts over the last few days, we can be certain that there are additional cases.”

Houghton County recorded over 300 cases, which is close to a five-fold increase over the numbers registered in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. There were 114 cases in Baraga County and another four in Keweenaw. Three deaths occurred in Houghton County among people with COVID-19.

Omicron is highly transmissible and less lethal than prior variants. Both internationally and here in the United States, cities and regions hit hard by the virus see skyrocketing case loads, usually at or near pandemic highs. They tend to crest between three and four weeks after the wave begins and taper off quickly. For a vast majority of people who get omicron it will be asymptomatic or present as a mild cold. A brief fever, sore throat, and cough are the most common symptoms.

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