COVID Questions: Oh My, Omicron! to be held Wed, Feb. 9

In This Together Cambria is hosting another virtual COVID Questions forum featuring Dr. Jill Henning and Dr. Matthew Tracey of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, sharing the latest updates on the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions.The virtual town hall will be held Wed., Feb. 9 at 7:00 pm over Zoom, and the moderator is Chip Minemyer, editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Participants can take part at . The presentation will also be livestreamed over In This Together Cambria’s Facebook Page,, and will eventually be made available on the organization’s website at

Topics to be covered include:
• How boosters increase protection
• How omicron tends to cause less severe disease but is more contagious
• Who is most at risk from omicron
• Why statistics can be misleading
• What the latest statistics show about case counts, vaccines, and more
• What newer treatments are becoming available

There will also be opportunities for participants to answer questions.

“We are in the third year of COVID-19 and so much is changing. What variant is this? What booster should I get? What mask should I wear? Who can I trust? With these questions on the minds of our community, we want to help clarify the guidelines and provide sound science to help people get the information they need,” Henning said.

Matthew Tracey, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown, where he teaches General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry labs, and Medicinal Chemistry. He earned his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Fordham University and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, with a focus on Organic Chemistry. He has a passion for chemical education, including the establishment of “Science Saturdays with Dr. Matt” with the Johnstown Area Heritage Association and involvement with the National Chemistry Week programs offered through the American Chemical Society. His current research interests include synthesis of bioactive molecules, new organic chemistry lab experiments, and new pedagogical methods to engage his students.

Jill D. Henning, PhD is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown Campus. She has a broad background in immunology, infectious diseases, and cancer biology. In general, her research examines how infectious disease affect humans and animals—a concept referred to as “One Health.” She has divided her research into two specific categories: viral influences on immune function associated with cancer and zoonotic infectious diseases and their vectors. She completed her Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health in 2008. She was a post-doctoral fellow in biobehavioral medicine for a year and joined the faculty at Pitt-Johnstown in 2009.