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‘Endemic’ possibility after high cases, best masks vs. Omicron

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Public Health's Dr. Henning Ansorg joined NewsChannel 3 for a weekly visit to discuss the ongoing COVID pandemic.

In Santa Barbara County, Omicron has led to more than 10-times the level of positive tests than the Delta wave in summer 2021, according to Dr. Ansorg. He also says unvaccinated people are 17-times more likely to need hospitalization with Omicron and 20-times more likely to die from it. Although hospital admissions have increased in the weeks following the holidays, ICU admissions remain low.

Omicron is much more transmissible compared to other variants of COVID-19, but infection is milder for most people. Even with that, health officials are updating their guidance on masks. Ansorg joining the California Department of Public Health to recommend surgical, KN95 and N95 masks over cloth masks.

Testing issues remain at the county level in this post-holiday Omicron surge. But help is on the way. Public Health says they are expanding hours at sites in Santa Barbara and Lompoc, plus adding back a facility in Goleta. The county is also expecting 80,000 rapid test kits in the weeks to come.

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Joe Buttitta

Joe Buttitta co-anchors the Morning News on News Channel 3-12 and NewsChannel 3 Midday. To learn more about Joe, click here

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