DOH confirms presence of ‘Kraken’ COVID variant through wastewater testing
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s Department of Health is tracking a new highly contagious COVID subvariant known as “The Kraken,” which now makes up about 30% of all cases across the country.
Public health experts believe it could be the next dominant strain worldwide and DOH officials confirmed Thursday it has been detected on Oahu through wastewater samples.
At this time, it’s unknown how many cases it has contributed to.
Unreported infections through at-home tests make tracking the variant’s spread even more difficult.
At last check, the state’s daily average of cases is at 170.
DOH says the wastewater samples are typically an indicator of what’s to come.
“It can be kind of like an early warning system,” said DOH spokesperson Brooks Baehr. “The wastewater is often the first place that you’re gonna see detection of new variants or it may be the first place that your gonna detect a possible new surge in cases. So now we have several tools with which to monitor COVID in Hawaii.”
DOH adds that the presence of the “Kraken” strain serves as a reminder to update immunizations and just under 19% of residents have received the bivalent booster.
“We all know that it’s even more infectious than the other previous variants have been,” said epidemiologist DeWolfe Miller. “Whether it’s more virulent or not, I don’t think there’s any evidence to that fortunately.”
Currently, DOH says there are no plans to bring back any community testing efforts.
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