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COVID-19 Omicron variant confirmed in Tri-State through Deaconess testing

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 3:27 PM CST
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INDIANA (WFIE) - On Tuesday, Indiana Health Officials reported 3,805 new COVID-19 cases and 118 new COVID-19 related deaths.

The pandemic total in the state is now 1,196,148 cases and 17,971 deaths.

It shows 88 new cases in Vanderburgh County, 23 new cases in Warrick County, 19 new cases in Gibson County, 32 new cases in Dubois County, 9 new cases in Pike County, 13 new cases in Posey County, six new cases in Spencer County, and nine new cases in Perry County.

This comes as local officials from Deaconess Health System tested positive COVID-19 samples from various hospitals.

On Tuesday, officials say 12% of those samples came back as the Omicron variant.

Dr. April Abbott, Director of Microbiology at Deaconess Health System says specific tests at her hospitals can actually scan for three specific genes.

“Because that variant has mutations in the spike protein,” says Dr. Abbott, “what we will see if the other two genes that are present will amplify, but the spike protein will not.”

That means COVID-positive reports can be put through this process to test for the Omicron variant.

“One of the things that makes this variant unique is that it replicates at really high levels in the upper part of your lung,” says Dr. Abbott. “So it is very easily spread from person to person.”

Because of that, Dr. Abbott says she expects super-spreader events to be even more likely with this variant.

“So that is one of the reasons why we have to be extremely cautious and do all the different precautions we know we should be doing,” says Dr. Abbott, “so masking, social distancing, washing your hands.”

As a reminder, any Hoosier five and older can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at https://ourshot.in.gov.

Those without a computer or cell phone can call 211.

Here are the coronavirus totals in our part of Indiana:

  • Vanderburgh Co. - 36,519 cases, 505 deaths
  • Dubois Co. - 9,198 cases, 145 deaths
  • Warrick Co. - 12,992 cases, 201 deaths
  • Perry Co. - 3,108 cases, 54 deaths
  • Posey Co. - 4,328 cases, 45 deaths
  • Gibson Co. - 7,548 cases, 121 deaths
  • Spencer Co. - 3,848 cases, 51 deaths
  • Pike Co. - 2,716 cases, 45 deaths

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