FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Omicron, the dominant variant of COVID-19 in the U.S. according to federal health officials has been detected in Kings County, health officials announced Tuesday.
According to a news release from the Kings County Department of Public Health, officials received notification that the first detected cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the county have been identified.
According to health officials, four variant cases were discovered in Kings County.
“We want to stress the importance of protecting yourselves, your loved ones, and your community
during these times, especially with the Holiday season among us, which includes practicing safe
measures while gathering with family and friends,” said Heather Silva, Assistant Director for the
Kings County Department of Public Health.
Reports from South Africa, where the variant was first discovered, indicate that the omicron variant appeared to cause less severe disease than previous versions of the coronavirus.
There are also indicators that vaccines may be less effective against the milder variant. Analysis from Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest private health insurer, and the South African Medical Research Council shows that a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination appeared to provide just 33% protection against infection during South Africa’s omicron wave, but 70% protection against hospitalization.