U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Fresno County Department of Public Health is confirming the first known case of the Omicron variant in a traveler returning to Fresno County who tested positive on Dec. 10.
The patient had been vaccinated and received a booster. This individual is not hospitalized and is under isolation at home. Health officials are conducting an investigation to identify people who may have had close contact with the patient.
“Health Officials expected this aggressive new variant to arrive in Fresno County, and now it has. Now is a critical time to protect our communities and prevent this highly contagious strain of COVID from spreading to our vulnerable populations,” says David Luchini, FCDPH Director.
To help detect and prevent the spread of this new variant, health officials recommend testing of all participants prior to holiday gatherings and staying home if you are sick. More information about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant is available on the website www.fcdph.org/covid19.
Many more cases of Omicron are expected to be reported in the coming days and weeks, based on the exponential growth in cases in the United States. Health officials say there is a significant risk of exponential growth in COVID-19 cases in our region. Evidence suggests that Omicron spreads more rapidly than other variants, and more is being learned every day.
Although some evidence suggests that a lower percentage of people infected with Omicron may be hospitalized and die, if a surge causes many thousands of new cases per day, even a small percentage of that total entering our hospitals will overwhelm health care delivery systems. As with the Delta variant of COVID-19, vaccinations and boosters do help prevent Omicron infections and also hospitalizations.
“Everyone eligible for a vaccine needs to have one as soon as possible, and those due for a booster dose should get one as soon as they can,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer. “The added protection of a booster will be needed to reduce infections and prevent severe illness this winter.”
Vaccinations are available at no cost to the public, regardless of immigration status and insurance is not required. Residents can make an appointment at the hundreds of sites across the county. For more information, visit https://myturn.ca.gov/ or call 833-422-4255.