How the omicron variant is changing public health rules in these Northern California counties – KCRA Sacramento

County public health officials across Northern California are keeping a close eye on news about the omicron variant, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, classified it a “variant of concern” earlier this week.”We need to prepare, which means people need to get vaccinated and get a booster where possible,” said John Faust, spokesperson for Yolo County Public Health. Yolo County has not found a positive case of omicron from its testing at UC Davis yet, but tells KCRA 3 rules and guidelines could change as new information comes in over the next few weeks.”There’s a lot we are still learning,” said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, public health officer for Sacramento County. “Within the next couple of weeks will be able to know more about the efficacy of the vaccine with the omicron variant.”According to the experts and the State Public Health Department, people found infected with the omicron variant appear to be younger and show milder symptoms. Omicron also has more mutations than seen on previous variants, with scientists finding anywhere between 30 to 50 mutations as of now.Getting vaccinated, public health officials say, still remains the best form of protection, as more information is uncovered about omicron.”We know there’s an increased demand for people seeking vaccination appointments,” added Hannah Aalborg, Sacramento County Public Health program coordinator. “Sixty percent of people coming in are getting their booster. Forty percent are getting their first or second dose of the vaccine.”Increased vaccination interest is a trend happening in both Yolo and Sacramento counties. Officials say that could be coming from widespread booster availability, and general public interest as people gather for the holidays.”We have plenty of vaccines available,” Aalborg said.At Thursday’s public health media briefing, Dr. Kasirye also revealed Sacramento County’s new capability to test for different variants of COVID-19.”Almost all specimens are still showing delta variant,” she said. “But having this capability will allow us to do surveillance and look out for the omicron variant as well.”Sacramento County Public Health is requesting residents to please continue following the existing masking and other COVID-19 safety guidelines at this time. “We are concerned about all the mutations scientists are seeing on the variant, but it’s not time for us to panic,” said Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County public information officer. Park said no signs of omicron have been detected in San Joaquin County as of today, and she does not expect to make adjustments to existing public health guidelines for now. “We still have our recommendations and as always, it’s to mask indoors and in public places and wash your hands, and don’t go to work if you’re sick,” Park said.Park added that, similar to Sacramento County, transmission rates in San Joaquin also appeared to be on the slow decline. “Currently it’s at 10.5 per 100,000 people, which is the best it’s been in many months,” she said. “These are still not great numbers, we’d love to see if get further down. We are encouraging people to get tested especially if you’re going away for the holidays.”

County public health officials across Northern California are keeping a close eye on news about the omicron variant, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, classified it a “variant of concern” earlier this week.

“We need to prepare, which means people need to get vaccinated and get a booster where possible,” said John Faust, spokesperson for Yolo County Public Health.

Yolo County has not found a positive case of omicron from its testing at UC Davis yet, but tells KCRA 3 rules and guidelines could change as new information comes in over the next few weeks.

“There’s a lot we are still learning,” said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, public health officer for Sacramento County. “Within the next couple of weeks will be able to know more about the efficacy of the vaccine with the omicron variant.”

According to the experts and the State Public Health Department, people found infected with the omicron variant appear to be younger and show milder symptoms. Omicron also has more mutations than seen on previous variants, with scientists finding anywhere between 30 to 50 mutations as of now.

Getting vaccinated, public health officials say, still remains the best form of protection, as more information is uncovered about omicron.

“We know there’s an increased demand for people seeking vaccination appointments,” added Hannah Aalborg, Sacramento County Public Health program coordinator. “Sixty percent of people coming in are getting their booster. Forty percent are getting their first or second dose of the vaccine.”

Increased vaccination interest is a trend happening in both Yolo and Sacramento counties. Officials say that could be coming from widespread booster availability, and general public interest as people gather for the holidays.

“We have plenty of vaccines available,” Aalborg said.

At Thursday’s public health media briefing, Dr. Kasirye also revealed Sacramento County’s new capability to test for different variants of COVID-19.

“Almost all specimens are still showing delta variant,” she said. “But having this capability will allow us to do surveillance and look out for the omicron variant as well.”

Sacramento County Public Health is requesting residents to please continue following the existing masking and other COVID-19 safety guidelines at this time.

“We are concerned about all the mutations scientists are seeing on the variant, but it’s not time for us to panic,” said Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County public information officer.

Park said no signs of omicron have been detected in San Joaquin County as of today, and she does not expect to make adjustments to existing public health guidelines for now.

“We still have our recommendations and as always, it’s to mask indoors and in public places and wash your hands, and don’t go to work if you’re sick,” Park said.

Park added that, similar to Sacramento County, transmission rates in San Joaquin also appeared to be on the slow decline.

“Currently it’s at 10.5 per 100,000 people, which is the best it’s been in many months,” she said. “These are still not great numbers, we’d love to see if get further down. We are encouraging people to get tested especially if you’re going away for the holidays.”

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