UVA doctors: BA.2 variant fueling COVID-19 spread in Virginia

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 3:56 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As COVID-19 cases in the Blue Ridge Health District rise again, doctors with UVA Health say it’s due to a newer variant that’s taking over.

“I think what we are seeing are increased case counts locally as well as regionally and across the state,” Doctor Costi Sifri said Monday, April 18.

Medical experts are tracking the subvariant of the omicron variant of the coronavirus as it spreads.

“BA.2 has replaced the original omicron in the U.S. and it is even more infectious,” Doctor Bill Petri said. “It is responsible for the increase in COVID-19 cases in Virginia and the northeastern U.S.”

Dr. Sifri says the good news is that this variant is not causing rising hospitalizations: “What we are not seeing is a significant spike. In fact, we are not seeing a significant increase in case counts in the hospital of people diagnosed with COVID, particularly people diagnosed with severe COVID. ICU census has remained relatively stable and low,” he said.

Sifri says the rise in cases is impacting staff at the hospital.

“We are also seeing that reflected in some of our employees here at UVA, and this is what we were predicting to see. We were nearing the bottom of the case counts after the omicron surge and we reached a bottom level. Now we are seeing an uptick,” Sifri said.

Dr. Petri says it’s even more important to get a booster shot.

“Now is a good time to get your second booster if you are eligible,” Petri said.

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