1st Omicron variant detected in Kitsap

The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in Kitsap County Thursday.

It was not unexpected as Omicron cases have been detected in neighboring counties and the variant is believed to account for the majority of new COVID-19 cases reported nationwide.

The case in Kitsap is a reminder that everyone needs to take precautions this winter, especially as people gather for the holidays. Omicron is believed to spread more easily than previous variants, raising the likelihood of a new wave of cases that will put added strain on hospitals.

Vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant, especially for those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot.

A mask is required in indoor public spaces and large outdoor events statewide. To increase your protection, consider wearing a mask anytime you are around people from outside of your household.

Increase your protection by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from people outside of your household.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer.

Vaccinated or not, help keep people around you safe by avoiding contact with others and getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

If you feel sick, stay home as much as you can, except to seek medical care.

Kitsap Public Health District is offering a vaccination clinic Dec. 29 for ages 12+ and a clinic on Dec. 30 for ages 5-11. Book an appointment at kphd.timetap.com.

KPHD health officer Dr. Gib Morrow said, “The year 2021 will be remembered as one of inspiring successes and disheartening setbacks, a year of grief and hope. Now we look forward with determination. We are optimistic that our new knowledge, lessons learned, and experience with this new disease will allow us to manage it more effectively.”

He asked for caution this holiday season, encouraging rapid antigen testing befor attending gatherings.

“And we need to be persistent in efforts to make vaccinations widely accessible to those who still need them, to fight the misinformation that has confused so many, and to distribute and begin to use new and emerging treatments that work to prevent hospitalization and death,” he said.

As of Dec. 21, 72.1% of all Kitsap residents (ages 0+) have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 65.7% are fully vaccinated. 306 COVID-19 cases were reported in our county: 34 cases on Bainbridge Island, 87 cases in Bremerton, 75 in Central Kitsap, 43 in North Kitsap, and 67 in South Kitsap.

Kitsap County’s rate of cases per 100,000 population over 7 days was 112.4 as of Dec. 23. The rate of cases reported in Kitsap had been declining since mid-September, but is currently holding steady.

For the week ending Dec. 18, there were 19 new Kitsap resident COVID hospitalizations; there were 13 the week prior. 262 Kitsap resident COVID-associated deaths have been reported to date. Find more local COVID data at kcowa.us/covid19data