COVID subvariants gain foothold in New England; Vt. case levels remain low

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:22 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Two new omicron subvariant strains continue to gain ground in Vermont and across New England, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.

The number of infections from the BA.4 and BA.5 strains accounts for a combined 25% of COVID-19 cases in New England and approximately 35% of COVID-19 cases nationally.

The Vermont Department of Health syndromic surveillance report released Wednesday shows BA.4 and BA.5 accounted for 8.5% of the specimens sequenced but that data is nearly a month old now.

Public health experts have cautioned that the new variants may be more transmissible and can bypass immunity from earlier omicron strains. They were first detected in South Africa where they swept through the country earlier this spring.

Moderna announced Wednesday that an updated version of its vaccine generated a strong immune response against the subvariants. The company is hoping for approval of the vaccine to roll out as a booster shot for the fall.

In Vermont, statewide community COVID levels remain low with a weekly case count of 785, a decrease from the previous week. There were 42 total new hospital admissions with COVID, an increase from the previous week.

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