COVID-19 subvariant BQ.1 now in Fresno County, health officials say

The good news is the latest bivalent boosters are expected to offer protection against BQ.1 and other similar omicron subvariants.

Alyssa Flores Image
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
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Local data has detected a couple of cases but it's believed there are more, as this omicron subvariant has the potential to spread quickly.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's already a common version of COVID in New York, and now the BQ.1 subvariant has arrived in Fresno County.

"More contagious than other subvariants. At this time, it doesn't appear to be causing more severity meaning more hospitalizations, more death," said Dr. Trinidad Solis, Fresno County Deputy Health Officer. "But it's early and so we are monitoring that."

Local data has detected a couple of cases, but it's believed there are more as this omicron subvariant has the potential to spread quickly.

"New waves is, unfortunately, what it's going to cause," said Dr. Kenny Banh from UCSF Fresno.

He says new subvariants are not a reason to panic, but they shouldn't be ignored. The good news is the latest bivalent boosters are expected to offer protection against BQ.1 and other similar omicron subvariants.

"We are going to continue to see subvariants, but the important thing to remember is that we have the tools already to protect us," said Dr. Solis.

Health officials say getting the new COVID booster shots should be on your holiday to-do list before gatherings. If you have contracted COVID recently, the CDC advises that you wait three months before getting a booster-although you can get one sooner.

Right now, only 6% of the eligible population in Fresno County has gotten the new bivalent booster.

"We still haven't seen a major uptick among the population with tha,t so we are hoping that people can get their bivalent updated boosters in place so that we can kind of stem the surge of passing it around during holiday gatherings," said Dr. Banh.