Omicron is here

Butte County's COVID-19 infections have risen sharply since the Christmas holiday

Photo by dronepicr

After weeks of declining COVID-19 infections, Butte County’s numbers spiked dramatically during the last week of 2021. Between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, there were 701 new cases, the highest total since the summer surge and nearly triple the amount from the week before (242). According to Butte County Public Health, early sequencing results show that the omicron variant accounted for nearly 22 percent of infections in the county in December.

The rising local numbers follow a national trend that’s seen unchecked omicron- and delta-fueled spread of the coronavirus, with infections up 254 percent in the United States over the past two weeks (as of Jan. 5). So far, hospitalizations aren’t growing at the same rate across the country; however, those numbers are still up 51 percent for the same two-week period.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination greatly reduces the risk of infection and severity of COVID-19 (unvaccinated are five times more likely to be infected than vaccinated; 10 times more than those with booster dose). Vaccines and boosters are available at local pharmacies and community clinics. Visit myturn.ca.gov or pharmacy websites to schedule an appointment.

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