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Omicron sub-variant now in Idaho amid hospital rationing

| February 1, 2022 7:00 AM

Bloomberg News (TNS)

Idaho health officials confirmed the state's first case of the fast-spreading COVID-19 omicron sub-variant BA.2 days after returning to crisis health care rationing.

"The BA.2 sub-variant has been identified in 22 U.S. states and at least 40 countries where it is reportedly spreading quickly," the state Department of Health and Welfare said in a news release.

Idaho is one of the least vaccinated U.S. states and on Monday it returned to rationing hospital care with the implementation of crisis standards of care in southern Idaho.

The BA.2 case was detected in Ada County, which includes the state capital of Boise where rationing is underway.

"The person had recently traveled internationally," Niki Forbing-Orr, a health department spokesperson, said by e-mail.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other U.S. agencies have prioritized characterization of the BA.2 lineage.

"Very early data from Asia and Europe indicate there have not been major differences in disease severity or the effectiveness of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines against the BA.2 sub-lineage," the Idaho health department said.