BA.5 makes up growing portion of COVID cases in WA, state data says

Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant continued to tear through Washington state in June, more than tripling its share of the state’s sequenced COVID-19 cases and contributing to high levels of infection in King County.

As of the week ending June 25, BA.5 constituted 37.3% of sequenced COVID cases, up from 9.8% during the week of May 29, according to the most recently available data released Wednesday.

The BA.5 variant is now the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while it’s hard to get an exact count — given the popularity of at-home testing — there are indications that reinfections and hospitalizations are increasing.

In King County, rates of COVID community transmission remain high — higher than they were during the peak of last summer’s delta surge, but still far from January’s omicron-wave levels, county health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said in a Thursday news briefing.

As of Thursday, the county counted an average of about 941 daily cases, compared to about 620 daily cases in mid-August last year.