BA.2 subvariant is the dominant strain in Washington

The omicron subvariant BA.2 is now the most common strain in Washington state, the Washington State Department of Health announced on Wednesday

During a news conference, the health department said it continued to see positive trends in the state, and cases rates and hospitalizations continued to fall. 

As of last week the BA.2 strain accounts for 51% of the state’s cases and the CDC is reporting that the strain accounts for 55% nationally. 

"The trajectory continues to be on the decline and this is a promising sign of the pace of where we are in the pandemic," Shah said. 

RELATED: New COVID variant BA.2: What's known about 'stealth' omicron?

This version of the coronavirus, which scientists call BA.2, is widely considered stealthier than the original version of omicron because particular genetic traits make it somewhat harder to detect.

"Think about this as another phase of the pandemic," said Shah. "Things are absolutely better. We want to continue to see that but don’t let off the guard completely and say, ‘We are done, we are out of this and we’re moving forward,’ because that is when people may get into trouble."

UW Medicine: 1 in 4 new COVID-19 cases attributed to BA.2 omicron variant

One in four new COVID-19 cases sequenced at UW Medicine’s virology lab is from the omicron BA.2 subvariant.

Health officials are reminding people to continue to wear masks when it is appropriate or keep them around, have test kits and stay updated on vaccinations. 

"Data continues to show that the COVID-19 vaccines offer powerful and substantial protections against severe illness, hospitalization and death," said assistant secretary Michele Roberts. 

Health officials said they will continue to monitor the spread of the variant. 

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