6 omicron cases reported in Monterey County; more cases could be on the horizon

·2 min read

A total of six cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been confirmed in Monterey County as of Thursday.

The Monterey County Health Department says the specimens were collected from mid-December to Thursday, indicating the variant has been present in the county for at least a week. Based on information from other areas where omicron has been active, the public health department is warning residents that a surge in local cases could happen in the coming weeks.

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Here's what health officials are recommending to stay safe:

  • Get vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19 if you have not already been vaccinated.

  • Get a COVID-19 booster if you are 16 years or older and it has been two months since your first dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or six months since your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

  • Wear a well-fitting face covering in indoor public settings and on public transportation. Do not go to work, school, shopping and holiday parties if you are ill.

  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling and before and after attending gatherings with people outside of your household.

The department says that while Delta is currently the predominant variant, preliminary information shows the omicron variant spreads faster than other variants. However, public health officials say they need more data to know if Omicron causes more or less severe illness than other variants.

The county health department will not be releasing personal information such as health status, age or gender to protect the identify of those infected.

Health officials say a vaccine booster may be needed to help protect against the Omicron variant.

To schedule a booster appointment, visit www.vaccines.gov. To find a pharmacy offering boosters or testing locations, visit Monterey County Health Department’s vaccine website to find a community-based clinic or call 2-1-1.

Weekly updates on variant cases will be at https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/health/diseases/2019-novelcoronavirus-covid-19/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-local-data-10219.

More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicronvariant.html

CDPH Omicron website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID19/Omicron-Variant-Fact-Sheet.aspx

CDPH Getting the Most Out of Masking: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Get-the-Most-out-ofMasking.aspx

This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Six omicron cases reported in Monterey County within a week

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