July 20, 2022

Health Officials Urge Continued Prevention as New COVID-19 BA.5 Variant Is Now the Predominant Strain

COVID-19 cases are increasing in Montgomery County and throughout the nation as Omicron’s BA.5 variant has become the predominant strain circulating. The BA.5 variant spreads easily, and while symptoms are generally not severe, it is still important to practice recommended COVID-19 prevention steps.

Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services recommends residents follow these precautions:
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster shots:
    • Booster shots are the best way to minimize the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
    • Since January, people 50 years and older who were vaccinated—but not boosted—have been two to three times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than those who were fully boosted.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others:
    • If you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
    • When on public transportation.
    • As an additional precaution to protect yourself and others, during visits to congregate indoor spaces with limited social distancing and ventilation.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed:
    • Consider rapid or PCR testing after returning from travel or large gatherings.
    • If you test positive, let your recent close contacts know.
  • If you are high risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
    • Wear a mask indoors in public settings and talk to your healthcare provider about additional precautions and whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP, and monoclonal antibodies.