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Omicron becoming dominant variant in Santa Barbara County

Omicron becoming dominant COVID19 variant locally

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-It may take several weeks to confirm which COVID19 variant is the most common, but one local doctor says Omicron is more likely to be infecting community members than Delta.

Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons at Cottage Health said "Omicron is causing the vast majority of cases in Santa Barbara County at this point."

Dr. Fitzgibbons said sequencing done by state testing partners will deliver the data.

"Something shifted in our community in the week before Christmas, cases started to really spread so efficiently."

She said it is clearly in the community, especially South Santa Barbara County.

It is not easy to determine, right now, how severe these new cases will become.

That is because more people are now vaccinated than they were at this time last year.

"This may be more of an upper respiratory infection in the majority of patients, and less of a lower lung severe pneumonia than prior variants, but at the end of the day, I think that all of this is merely conjecture and we need to wait and see just how seriously our population is hit," said Dr. Fitzgibbons.

Since the supplies of testing appointments and home test kits are not sufficient she recommends taking precautions.

"I know that life can't pause for all of us indefinitely, this surge is going to come and go more quickly than prior surges. If you do not feel well and you can not get a test please isolate."

She believes access to testing will improve in the coming weeks.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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