Aspirus provides information on Omicron COVID-19 variant
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN – Aspirus Health on Thursday, Dec. 9 provided information about the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the latest variant detected by officials.
“The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was first identified in South Africa in November and has since been detected in 50 countries and at least 19 states, including Wisconsin,” Aspirus stated. “The fast-spreading Omicron is the latest variant to mutate from the initial COVID-19 virus. Early indications are that Omicron is more easily transmissible than other COVID-19 variants, but the resulting infection may be less severe.”
“A variant is a virus that has changed in some way, a slight deviation from its original form – a mutation if you will – that causes it to attack the body in a different way,” said Michael Walters, MD, Aspirus Senior System Physician Executive of Specialty Care. “Mutation may change how a virus responds to treatments or a vaccine.”
Walters said Omicron has over 50 mutations, “which makes it unique because it has the most mutations to date.”
“In particular, it has 30 mutations on what is known as the spike protein, and that is what is causing the disease and infectivity of COVID-19, and so that is where it the most important,” Walters stated.
Aspirus said it is too soon to know what impact Omicron will have in this region of the state or if it will become more dominant than the Delta variant that is fueling the current COVID-19 surge.
“We do know each new variant brings unknown risks, and the best way to prevent new mutations is to get vaccinated and receive boosters as directed,” Aspirus stated.
COVID-19 vaccinations are available through Aspirus Health or many pharmacies in local communities. Boosters or initial vaccination series can be scheduled through Aspirus using the MyAspirus online patient portal (www.bit.ly/3IPnumj) or mobile app.
Appointments are also available by calling the Aspirus COVID-19 Call Center at 844-568-0701 or 715-843-1454. The Call Center has been experiencing high call volumes, so individuals are encouraged to use MyAspirus for convenience.