As many health experts predicted, the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus virus is causing the number of new COVID-19 cases to skyrocket around the nation, state and Hayward area.

Julia Lyons, Sawyer County Public Health oOfficer, said when she reviews COVID data she typically doesn’t pay much attention to national trends, but last week she saw something that took her breath away — a graph of the risk levels for the nation looked like the projection path of a rocket, a line going straight up, indicating a seven-day average per 100,000 shooting well above 100.

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