The health officials said on Tuesday that the highly transmissible omicron variant seems to be all spread in the Bay Region and is probably increasing the transmission of the virus and early spikes in coronavirus cases over the area.
The head of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Grant Colfax said that the case rates have increased by two times in San Francisco just within the last five days, majorly because of the omicron variant that is certainly spreading in the community.
He added that the city has now detected 32 cases of the omicron variant, but he suspects that many more are also there.
Three-fourth of Virus Samples Appear to Be Omicron at Stanford
It is also assumed that omicron is the reason behind the increasing Covid cases in Marin County, where over half of the people got infected after attending a holiday party.
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Around three-fourth of the virus, samples checked for variants the last week at Stanford turned out to be omicron, confirmed by the director of the clinical virology laboratory, Dr. Ben Pinksy.
Piney said “It picked up during the last week. We went from very low to majority Omicron,” adding, “I think almost all cases will soon be Omicron.”
Increasing cases of omicrons are being found over California, and Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that soon he would need all health care staff to get booster jabs along with being fully vaccinated.
Health workers in the Gulf region are experiencing a widespread outbreak of Omicron cases in the upcoming weeks, or even days, due to the extremely rapid increase of Omicron variants around the country.
According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first case of Omicron in the US was detected in San Francisco on the 1st of December, and as of last week, three-fourth of cases were found across the nation.
Omicron Spreading at Breathtaking Speed: Health Officials
In wake of surging cases, President Biden announced new plans on Tuesday to prevent the spread of omicron and sent half a billion rapid-test kits to American homes and tens of thousands of federal health care officials in those parts of the country flooded with new cases.
Local health care workers expressed that they are worried that despite maximum Omicron cases being mild, a huge surge is likely because of the virus spreading extensively in comparison to any earlier spike, and that may impact hospitals or disturb basic services like education or transportation.
Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sarah Cody said “It’s very difficult to wrap our collective heads around this because Omicron is moving at breathtaking speed,” adding “It is difficult for us humans to survive this virus.”
Health officials expressed they are not demotivating people from heading for the holidays this year. But the new variant is highly mutated and likely to be capable of weakening the immunity and even fully vaccinated people can catch the infection.
Bay Area health officials asserted it is necessary that everyone who has been fully vaccinated and completed a minimum of six months of vaccination, go ahead to receive a booster jab if they haven’t taken it yet.
Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said “It is concerning that for people who are not promoted, vaccination may not provide much protection,” adding “A booster may not protect you from mild illness, but it does protect you from severe illness.”
Cody mentioned that the Bay Area’s strong vaccine could lead the region more prone to omicrons compared to other parts of the country as most residents took vaccinations early, so their antibody immunity may have weakened now.
Cody said “We were in great shape, and now the immunity is down and we all have to boost,” adding “If I can promote every eligible person in the county now, I’ll wave my stick and do it.”
As of Monday, the Gulf region was recording nearly 1,100 cases per day, around twice the daily count a month earlier. The rate of hospitalizations also increased by 20% in the region.
Though local health officials claimed they were experiencing troublesome indications of an imminent surge and had no belief think the region would overcome the flood of cases already found in other regions of the country.
According to Colfax, early reports in San Francisco recommend the case rate increased two times from 13th December to 18th December, from nearly 10 cases per capita per day to 21 cases per capita.
He said “And I expect the cash rate to start doubling every two to three days,” adding “If Delta was COVID on steroids, Omicron is COVID on speed,” he further continued “It’s a lot more permeable.”
He said that though San Francisco has found only 32 omicron cases till now, people should presume it is much more transmissible, a concern expressed by health officials in the Bay Area, even in counties where no Omicron cases have been found so far.
Even Regions With No Omicron Cases So Far Are at Risk Since Its Highly Transmissible
Deputy Health Officer Dr. Curtis Chan said “We haven’t reported Omicron yet, but we expect that there are already many cases in San Mateo County,” he added that Covid cases have been increasing in San Mateo County for about two weeks.
Alameda County, which detected one of the first omicron cases in the country in early December amongst a group of health care staff, is seeing a surge in cases, probably due to the new variant of the virus, health official Dr. Nicolas Moss said.
Dr. Karen Relucio who is the Health Officer at Napa County, said “We are now at the point where mental health needs – human needs – are so important to be with loved ones and friends,” adding “We don’t want to tell people what to do. People have to make a personal choice about whether they’re going to take that risk.”
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