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Latest COVID subvariant XBB.1.5 found in Oʻahu's wastewater

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons
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The latest variant of COVID-19 sweeping the nation has not been found in Hawaiʻi clinical COVID-19 tests — but it has been detected in Oʻahu's wastewater.

The omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is currently the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. It accounts for over 40% of all cases, which is up from nearly 4% at the beginning of December.

The state health department reports that XBB.1.5 has not been detected in Hawaiʻi's human clinical samples, and it is not included in its variant report, which was released this week.

However, the department's wastewater surveillance report noted that the subvariant was found in Honolulu County wastewater.

The department’s wastewater report also shows an increasing trend in raw sewage concentrations of the coronavirus.

While the subvariant continues to spread in humans across the continental U.S., that's not the case for Hawaiʻi. The health department's separate variant report finds that omicron subvariants BQ. 1 and BQ. 1.1 account for 70% of all cases.

Hawaiʻi has a seven-day average daily case count of 177, up from 159 last week. The positivity rate is 7.9%.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that community spread is low in all of Hawaiʻi’s counties.

Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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