New variant is called BA. 5 variant and it's the most contagious yet
As of late last week, Mono County officially entered the highest rate (as set by the state of California) of community transmission of the Covid virus, the result of yetanother new and far more contagious variant of the virus added to a continued influx of visitors from areas already at the ‘High’ level of community transmission.
According to local health authorities, the county’s case rate increased to 27.7 cases per week per 100,000 individuals (270.01 case rate) as of July 7, placing the county in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 (Coronavirus) “High” Community Transmission Level.
That said, the ‘real’ numbers are likely much higher, due to the fact that many residents and visitors are using home tests and not reporting them, if they test at all, according to local health officials, who noted actual numbers could be as much as three or more times higher.
Mammoth’s hospitals and medical clinics are not seeing high rates of serious disease but there are a lot of local residents who have not even had Covid, including vaccinated and boosted residents, catching it this time due to the extremely contagious nature of the newest variant, called the BA. 5 variant, which is most likely the variant sweeping through the state at this time, officials said.
So, the state and the county health department are once again asking for the public to take some preventative measures to try to slow the spread of the virus.
“We understand the fatigue associated with Covid-19 and are grateful for the strides that our community has made in the fight against Covid-19,” said Dr. Caryn Slack, MD, MPH, Mono County Health Officer. “As we experience additional variants and upticks in positive cases, we simply ask residents and visitors to remain vigilant and consider using additional mitigating practices that have proven to reduce spread of infection.
“Testing and isolating remain the best defense against community spread of Covid-19,” she said. “With the uptick in local cases, as well as the new variants identified globally and in the United States, it’s important that we capture local data and continue to be vigilant about containing spread whenever possible.”
Recommended actions based on the ‘High’ Community Level include:
• Wearing a mask indoors in public
• Staying up-to-date with Covid-19 vaccines; and,
• Getting tested if you have symptoms (see below for options for free, PCR testing in Mono County).
IF YOU WANT TO GET TESTED IN MONO COUNTY
• Both OptumServe and Mono County Public Health provide free Covid-19 testing clinics in Mono County. Mono County Public Health offers testing in other locations throughout the county at various times throughout the week. While both OptumServe and Mono County Public Health accept walk-ins at their Covid-19 testing clinics, pre-registration is strongly encouraged as walk-ins will only be accommodated pending resource availability. The Covid-19 testing schedule can be accessed at https://coronavirus.monocounty.ca.gov/pages/health
IF YOU WANT HOME TEST INFO
In addition, every home in the U.S. is eligible to order three (3) sets of at-home Covid-19 tests from the federal government at no charge. The tests are completely free, and orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. The tests can be accessed at https://www.covid.gov/testshttps://my.primary.health/l/monocounty
About at-home tests:
• The at-home tests are rapid antigen tests, not PCR
• Can be taken anywhere
• Results in 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
• The tests will work whether or not you have Covid-19 symptoms
• The tests will work whether or not you are up to date on your Covid-19 vaccines
• Test if you begin having Covid-19 symptoms, including fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
• Test at least five days after you come into close contact with someone with Covid-19, or when you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their Covid-19 vaccines