published on December 30, 2021 - 10:34 AM
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Health officials warn the Omicron variant is spreading quickly in the Central Valley ahead of New Year’s Eve. 

Tulare County recently confirmed its first Omicron case. Now it has three confirmed cases with more anticipated as positive preliminary screenings discovered this week are confirmed.

Two of the three positive Tulare County Omicron cases have been verified through full genome sequencing. Two were detected through surveillance and the third was identified through an outside laboratory.

“As we suspected, the Omicron variant is present and circulating in Tulare County. This new variant is very contagious and infectious, which is why it is extremely important we continue all safety measures to prevent becoming infected with COVID-19,” stated Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “It is especially important for everyone to get vaccinated, get a booster vaccine, and wear a well-fitting face covering or mask while in any public, indoor setting.”

The Fresno County Department of Public Health is also advocating that people be cautious while indoors. The department reminds the public that the highest risk of transmission is occurring among people who are unmasked, mildly symptomatic or both. 

Fresno County confirms first Omicron variant case


Fresno County announced its first Omicron case Dec. 21. A day after, KVPR reported that Omicron was also detected in Fresno County wastewater samples.

Health officials are bracing for a large number of infections with the new variant and are urging the public to be careful indoors — even if it means canceling New Year’s Eve party plans. 

Both counties are recommending that residents adhere to universal masking. This is also in alignment with the state of California’s recent order for universal masking, issued Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. 

There are Optum Serve testing sites in Fresno County available for free that operate daily. But the health department also says there will be more widely available testing kits available in January. The department said that those who have been fully vaccinated and have gotten their booster shots will have a much easier time overcoming Omicron.

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