KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Kings County is reporting its first cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
The Department of Public Health says four cases were reported through genomic sequencing; officials are now they are working to learn how the four residents contracted the virus.
No details were released on the severity of their symptoms – or whether the individuals were vaccinated.
In a statement, the department reaffirmed that the best tools in the fight against COVID-19 are vaccination, masking, and isolating at home when you’re sick.
For Hanford resident Marty Lewis the news does not shock him.
“It’s not surprising, especially after the holidays,” said Lewis. “There’s been more people traveling, more people spending time with family, things are going to spread.”
UCSF’s Dr. Kenny Banh expects the omicron variant to be the dominant variant as more and more cases are identified.
“It’s looking like it’s probably significantly more infectious, so that’s the biggest concern that’s easier to spread to people and it can even be spread among people who are vaccinated,” says Dr. Banh.
Both Fresno and Tulare counties have already identified patients infected with the omicron variant. Tulare County resident Joan Cuadra wants more testing – and urges locals to follow safety protocols.
“We’ve been warned this is coming, it’s like we’re in denial, this is a worldwide pandemic,” says Cuadra.
According to Kings County health officials, wearing a mask and being fully vaccinated continues to be the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants.