Both federal and local health experts have raised Dallas County’s COVID-19 alert levels as the highly contagious COVID-19 variant BA.5 causes both case counts and hospitalizations to climb.
Dallas County moved its internal COVID-19 risk level to orange, or “extreme caution,” on Saturday, just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties as having high community spread of the virus on Thursday.
BA.5, an omicron subvariant that is now the dominant strain in the U.S., appears to cause less severe illness than its predecessors, although some people are still at risk, including those who are immunocompromised or over the age of 65.
Here’s what local health experts know about the circulating strain and what North Texans can do to protect themselves from it:
BA.5 is most similar to BA.2, another omicron subvariant that picked up speed in Texas in March, although it has a few additional mutations on its spike protein, said Dr. Jeff SoRelle, an assistant professor of pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
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Source: Dallas Morning News