Public health officials say omicron cases ‘probably exist’ in Sacramento County

Local News

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — It has been one hundred weeks since Sacramento County launched its public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The major milestone comes as traces of the omicron variant appeared in the county in the last week at a wastewater treatment plant in Elk Grove.

“Wastewater is a robust source of COVID-19 because infected people shed the virus in their stool,” said Jamie White, the Sacramento County epidemiology program manager.

At Thursday morning’s briefing, public health officials tried to put those wastewater findings into perspective.

“To date, we have not been notified of any clinical cases of omicron from sequencing,” White said.

However, not all COVID-19 samples are tested to determine the variant. 

“So they probably exist, we just haven’t gotten one yet,” White explained.

Sacramento County’s Public Health Laboratory is currently capable of testing 40 samples a week.

Right next door, Yolo County just reported Thursday it has identified its first case of the omicron variant. According to Yolo County officials, Healthy Davis Together and the UC Davis Genome Center detected the case in a West Sacramento resident who recently traveled domestically. That person is vaccinated.

Meanwhile, coming off Thanksgiving, numbers that had previously been trending down are heading in the opposite direction, with the case rate going from 8 to 14 per 100,000 people in about a week. Sacramento County is averaging 200 cases per day. 

Health officials suspect that if the variant becomes a factor locally, those numbers will continue to grow.

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