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Health officials are recommending that people be prepared for the surge of COVID-19 because of the omicron variant. (KATU)

Prepare, don't stockpile for expected COVID surge, health officials say

Another COVID-19 variant was not what any of us were hoping for this holiday season.

And the omicron variant is spreading even more rapidly than the delta variant.

Because of possible supply chain issues, local health officials are warning people to have food and essentials on hand for two weeks, but they are saying that doesn’t mean run to the store and stock up.

“There are many things that all of us need to be doing today to make sure that we are prepared for the myriad of urgent issues that can come up. So, I would just say the general message is, be prepared,” said Dr. Umair Shah, director of the Washington Department of Health.

But that does not mean we should be stockpiling.

Local grocery chains like Fred Meyer said Tuesday they are working with vendors and logistics teams to make sure they have all the essentials on hand.

State health officials say they don’t see the need to shut down again, as long as we all do our part.

“We are watching what’s happening with omicron carefully. ... The key is to get boosted,” said Shah.

Omicron Hospitalization Outlook: