FRESNO – The Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) has been following international headlines related to a new variant of the COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) virus. This variant, known as the Omicron variant, has been classified as a variant of concern due to the potential for increased contagiousness (ability to spread from one person to another) and possibly increased virulence (the ability to make people sick and require hospitalization).
This is an emerging situation and much more information will be forthcoming in the coming days and weeks. The FCDPH is working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to inform the medical community, our local partners, and all county residents about this evolving situation.
Residents in Fresno County are encouraged to maintain safe COVID-19 preventative practices. These preventative practices include staying home if you are sick, good hand hygiene and physical distancing, using a mask in public places and indoors around people outside of your household, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine, a COVID-19 vaccine booster if eligible, and an influenza vaccine. COVID-19 vaccinations are now approved for anyone over the age of five. The influenza vaccine is approved for anyone over the age of six months. Individuals can visit myturn.ca.gov to make a COVID-19 or flu vaccine appointment.
“We are still learning about the Omicron variant and will be communicating with the public as information becomes available,” says Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer. “Regardless of variant, we can all make the community safer if we stick to the basics – use a mask, plan your activities safely, and get your vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu to protect yourself and your family.”
With the onset of wintertime conditions, and the upcoming holidays, the FCDPH encourages everyone to be as safe as possible to keep their family and community healthy. If individuals feel that sick, the FCDPH recommends that they get tested right away. If individuals are planning to travel or have recently traveled from an area that has high risk of COVID-19, a period of seven days of quarantine at home is recommended, with a test at the end of that quarantine.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.fcdph.org/covid19.
For more information about the Omicron variant, see the fact sheet below, and visit the CDPH website: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Omicron-Variant-Fact-Sheet.aspx.