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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The omicron variant of COVID-19 has not been detected in Sacramento, but county health officials expect that to change. 

Now, health officials will be able to know when that happens thanks to the ability to test the genome of samples locally. 

“Being able to do it in-house increases our capacity to continue the surveillance,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. 

On Thursday morning, Dr. Kasirye said researchers were still working to understand the omicron variant. 

“I’ve heard anywhere from 30 to 50 mutations,” Kasirye said. “It is expected that this variant will spread. I think there are some questions about whether it will be the dominant variant and replace the delta variant.”

Nevertheless, Sacramento’s case rate is on the decline, with eight cases per 100,000 people. At less than five per 100,000, officials would consider lifting the indoor mask mandate. 

When it comes to holiday gatherings, the recommendations remain the same: try to limit the size of gatherings and keep them outdoors. 

As for vaccinations, it’s recommended to not wait until the last minute. 

“Of course, you need to plan a little bit ahead to be vaccinated,” Nick Mori said. “Getting vaccinated on Christmas Eve for a Christmas Day gathering isn’t very helpful.”

The county has also seen an increase in demand for vaccinations, with 60% of those seeking vaccination looking for a booster and 40% looking for their first dose.