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Health officials announce arrival of omicron variant in Washington

WA Department of Health/Facebook screenshot

Washington health officials say the omicron Covid variant is now in the Evergreen State. This weekend state Health Secretary Umair Shah announced three cases have been identified in western Washington.

“At this point, the likelihood is that we are going to see more confirmations, but I think we also have to balance that with remembering our biggest concern right now is delta. Delta variant in our state. That right now is impacting people as we speak with severe disease and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect against that most urgently," he said.

The three cases were reported in King, Pierce and Thurston counties, one in each. Those identified are two men and a woman in their 20s and 30s. Officials say they don't believe the cases are related and they don’t know yet how they got to Washington.

Health officials expect to see more cases here, but they say it could be awhile before they know about its severity and transmissibility. Shah urges people to get vaccinated to reduce their chances of contracting Covid.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.