By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, January 6, 2022: The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spread its wings to all 30 districts of the State while the severity of the variant infection has been found to be less severe than the delta variant, much to the relief of Odisha’s COVID managers.

In another development, the State on Thursday reported its maiden fatality linked to the Omicron mutant variant.

A 45-year-old woman, who had tested positive, died on 27 December while undergoing treatment at government-run Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) in Burla. After the woman’s samples sent for genome sequencing was diagnosed Omicron positive on 5 January, ten after her death.

The health authorities however wait for further clinical investigation before declaring it to be Omicron-induced death.

“The woman had a history of cardiac ailments. It is too early to ascertain the exact cause of the death”, said Balangir Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Snehalata Sahu

“The Omicron cases currently stand at 61 and all 30 revenue districts have so far reported new variants. As the mutant variant is highly transmissible in nature, the daily cases will climb further in the coming days. The State government will shortly procure the ICMR-approved new kits for Omicron to scale up the testing and detect the invisible cases”, Director, Health Services, Bijay Mohapatra said on Thursday.

It is heartening to note that the most of the Omicron infected individuals are not severely infected and majority of them were asymptomatic, he said adding that samples are being sent for genome sequencing in clusters where the test positivity rate is on a higher side.

The rise in cases in Khordha including Bhubaneswar besides Sundaragarh, Sambalpur and Balasore has become a cause of concern. The health department is prioritizing the ‘Test-track-treat and vaccination’ methodology to arrest the infection trajectory.

There is no immediate cause of worry for the overwhelming of hospitals as the bed occupancy rate is quite at present.

On directions from the ministry of health and family welfare, the State government has decided to administer booster or the precaution dose to senior citizens and health workers from 10 January. The beneficiaries will be inoculated with the same vaccine, which they had received in the past, the senior health official informed.

Meanwhile, more than two and half lakh children in the 15-18 years of age group have so far been inoculated for the first dose.

It has been found that 27 lakh vaccine-eligible people have skipped the vaccination altogether not receiving the first dose. Similarly, around 26 lakh people are yet to get their second doses of vaccination. Steps are underway to vaccinate them at the earliest keeping in view the rapid spike in infections in the last week in the State at the earliest, said Health and Family Welfare Director Bijay Panigrahi.

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Great content! Keep up the good work!