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Dr. Raul Pino: No known cases of Omicron in Orange County, despite high levels of virus in wastewater

Photo: Dr. Raul Pino
Photo: Dr. Raul Pino

There are no known cases of Omicron in Orange County yet, despite evidence of the variant in local wastewater facilities, according to county leaders. 

Orange County Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Raul Pino says the majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the area continue to be from the Delta variant. 

In fact, Pino says there has not yet been a confirmed case of the Omicron variant. 

He says this means people should continue to get vaccinated, whether it’s their first dose or a booster shot as the vaccine has proven efficacy against Delta.

“Our fight is with Delta. Delta is what is still here. Still predominant the variant. And also it was the variant that really hit us hard the last three, four months when we had 700 deaths.”

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Pino says based on the level of Omicron in local wastewater facilities, the first cases could be detected as early as next week.

“Normally what happened in the other cases is about two weeks prior to the case being detected, it's detected in the water. Because a person could have the virus, being shedding virus in the water but not feeling sick. It takes about three, four days, five days to get sick. And then it takes a few hours or days for us to get the sample, get analyzed and get it to the lab, get the results, and get it on the news."

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Pino says the good news is Omicron tends to cause less serious illness than the Delta variant.

He recommends people continue masking, social distancing and of course, getting vaccinated.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.