MEDIA RELEASE: Omicron variant detected in Ottawa County

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MEDIA RELEASE  I  January 4, 2022

Media Contact:

Alison Clark, Communications Specialist | 616-494-5597

Omicron variant detected in Ottawa County

Department of Public Health reminds everyone to continue to use prevention strategies because of Omicron's spread in the community

(HOLLAND, MI.) – The first confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron (B.1.1.529), have been detected in Ottawa County. The six cases were confirmed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Tuesday, January 3, based on tests collected between December 17 and December 21.

Three of the six residents with the Omicron variant had completed their primary vaccination series. Three were unvaccinated. None of the individuals had received a COVID-19 booster. Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) has no confirmation of hospitalization for any of the individuals.

Omicron is spreading in the Ottawa County community and OCDPH expects it to become the emerging, and potentially dominant, variant in the County in the weeks ahead.

“We expected to detect the Omicron variant here in Ottawa County after it was discovered in the United States in early December,” said Lisa Stefanovsky, Administrative Health Officer. “The presence of the highly contagious variant once again highlights the need for everyone to take the opportunity to be vaccinated or boosted, access testing and wear a mask whenever you are indoors in public.”

The Omicron variant appears to be spreading much faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the prior variants that lead to surges in the spring and fall of 2021. More data are needed to determine whether Omicron causes more severe illness than other variants, but there is early evidence that it evades immunity from prior infection and vaccination.[1] OCDPH is reminding everyone that it is more important than ever to adhere to COVID-19 prevention recommendations to prevent the rapid spread of illness that could easily compromise or temporarily shut down essential services, such as public safety and hospital care. OCDPH urges those who haven’t already to get vaccinated. Early evidence still supports that vaccines are the most effective tool for preventing Long COVID, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), hospitalization and death. For those who are already vaccinated and are eligible, OCDPH strongly recommends a booster dose to increase vaccine effectiveness against Omicron, and prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. In addition, everyone should continue to practice prevention strategies used throughout the pandemic:

  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and consider upgrading cloth masks to something more protective, like an N95, KN95 or 3-ply surgical mask.  

  • Stay home if you're sick. 

  • Use a rapid COVID-19 test immediately before gathering with others to help determine if you are infected and contagious. 

  • If your rapid test is negative, this does not mean you do not have COVID-19; it just means that the virus was not detected in the sample. Make sure to follow up with your health care provider if you are not sure, or if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. Stay home to avoid exposing others to illness.

  • If you test positive on a rapid test, isolate immediately, contact a health care provider to see if further testing is recommended, and if so, do not gather with others while you wait for your test results.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, check with your doctor right away to see what treatment options are available to keep your illness from becoming more serious.

OCDPH will offer vaccinations and boosters at its clinic on James Street in Holland every Monday, from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Appointments are recommended, but walk-in appointments are available as well. In addition, vaccines and boosters are widely available at local pharmacies and health care providers. Parents should also strongly consider vaccinating their children. The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in children ages five and older, and boosters are available for children ages 16 and up. Clinics for children ages 5-11 are available in January as well.

Vaccine clinic availability and scheduling, as well as testing information, can be found by visiting or

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health works with our community to help assure conditions that promote and protect health. OCDPH’s vision is healthy people. For more information, contact, (616) 396-5266 or visit Follow us on Facebook @miOttawaHealth or twitter @miOCDPH.


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