State And Regional

State health chief: No evidence COVID-19 variant in Ohio is causing any more severe illness

COLUMBUS — The COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 has been detected in a case in northeast Ohio, but there is no evidence it is causing any more sever illness, hospitalizations or death, the Ohio Department of Health director said Thursday.

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ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D., MBA, confirmed the case in Lorain County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers BA.2.86 a notable variant because it contains a number of mutations that make it distinct from other currently circulating lineages.

There have been at least 23 other human cases caused by BA.2.86, including two in the United States, in Michigan and Virginia. It also has been confirmed in Canada (1 case), Denmark (10), Israel (1), Portugal (2), the United Kingdom (1), Sweden (4), and South Africa (2).

“At this point, there is no evidence that this variant is causing any more severe illness, hospitalizations or deaths,” Dr. Vanderhoff said.

ODH continues to encourage Ohioans to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations as the best way to prevent serious illness, and to stay home if sick.

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