Signs of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been found in California’s wastewater, officials said, as the number of cases associated with the new variant rose to double digits this week, including a newly confirmed infection in a Long Beach resident.
Clues suggestive of Omicron presence in the Central Valley were picked up in wastewater samples collected in Sacramento and Merced counties, California state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said Tuesday in a discussion hosted by the California Medical AssnPan said that they definitely are seeing Omicron across the state, for sure. Janna Haynes said that the Sacramento County, Stanford University researchers detected a specific mutation found in from wastewater collected Nov. 30. Results were confirmed Monday.
The statement said that these findings indicate that the Omicron variant is most likely present in Sacramento County. Pan said the mutation was also found in a wastewater sample collected in Merced County. California’s tally of confirmed cases reached 12, with six cases in Alameda County, five in Los Angeles County and one in San Francisco.
L.A. County reported a new Omicron case Wednesday night, possibly a result of local transmission, in a fully vaccinated person who had received a booster and suffered only mild symptoms. Several close contacts of that person have also tested positive for the coronavirus, and work is underway to determine whether those cases involve the variant. Some of the close contacts are fully vaccinated; the vaccination status of others is under investigation.