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Public Health - Coronavirus

Posted on: December 31, 2021

First Confirmed Case of Omicron Variant Detected in Nevada County

First Confirmed Case of Omicron Variant Detected in Nevada County

Nevada County has its first lab-confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Omicron cases have been confirmed in nearby counties, so it is very likely that this variant has been in our community for weeks,” said Jill Blake, Director of the Nevada County Public Health department.

The highly transmissible variant was first detected in California on December 1st and has been the dominant variant in the United States since December 20th. As Omicron continues to spread, case rates in both the state and county have risen. Currently, Nevada County has an average rate of 21.7 cases per day over the last 7 days. This is up from an average of 12-15 cases per day in recent weeks.

Even the higher case rates likely do not provide the full picture of the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada County, Blake said. “Many of us now have access to over-the-counter rapid tests that we can take at home. These are a great resource for detecting COVID-19, and we encourage people to use them, but positive results from these tests are not reported to the Public Health department,” Blake said. “We believe COVID-19 is even more widespread in our community than we know.”

Although Omicron is known to be more transmissible, it is still unclear if the variant causes more serious illness than Delta or other variants. Local Public Health officials are urging caution until more information becomes available. “We are all eager to see our friends and families, but the rising case rates are a concern for our community,” said Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet. “I encourage everyone to take precautions.”

Health officials recommend the following tips to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free for all California residents. Unvaccinated people are 7.1 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 15.8 times more likely to die from the virus. Vaccinations are our best line of defense.
  • Upgrade your mask. Choose a mask with good fit and filtration. A well-fitted mask has no gaps between the face and mask. Good filtration blocks virus particles from getting through the mask itself. N95 and KN95 masks work best.
  • Stay home if you test positive or have symptoms. Early COVID-19 symptoms can look very similar to the common cold. If you have a sore throat or the sniffles, don’t risk spreading COVID-19 to your loved ones.
  • Improve ventilation. Open doors and windows to keep air flowing and avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

For more information on COVID-19 data, testing, vaccination and more, please visit our website at www.MyNevadaCounty.com/Coronavirus.

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