Santa Barbara County’s first cases of the omicron variant were reported Wednesday.
Four cases were confirmed, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced in a news release late in the afternoon.
The detection of the variant was announced at a time when COVID-19 cases are surging in the county. The Public Health Department reported 534 new cases Wednesday, almost twice that of the 286 new cases reported on Tuesday.
According to the health department, all four individuals with the omicron variant were under 30. One person had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and the other three don’t have vaccine records in CAIR, the state immunization database.
Three of the cases were in South County, according to the public health department, which reported that additional contact investigation and tracing efforts are under way. Per the usual procedures, close contacts have been asked to quarantine, the health department said.
“The detection of these four omicron cases validates our sense of urgency about vaccination and boosters in our local community,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county public health director. “Vaccination and boosters for every eligible community member continues to be the No. 1 tool we have to stop the spread of this virus and prevent serious illness in those who do get COVID-19.
“Given the prevalence of omicron cases throughout the nation and California, we can expect that the variant is circulating in Santa Barbara County,” she said in the news release. “However, these four cases are the first confirmed from sampling.”
The Public Health Department said COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective against the omicron variant, especially against serious illness and death. To find a vaccination site, go to publichealthsbc.org/vaccine.
For more details, see Thursday’s News-Press.
“The detection of these four omicron cases validates our sense of urgency about vaccination and boosters in our local community,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county public health director. (COURTESY PHOTO)