San Francisco case rates double in five days as omicron tightens grip


The highly infectious omicron variant appears to be well established in the Bay Area and likely is fueling outbreaks and early surges in COVID-19 cases across the region, health officials said Tuesday.

Case rates have doubled in San Francisco over just the past five days, almost certainly due to omicron spreading in the community, said Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health. He said the city has now identified 32 omicron cases, but he expects there are many more.

The variant also is the likely source of a large COVID outbreak in Marin County, where more than half of the attendees at a holiday party became infected. At Stanford, nearly three-quarters of virus samples screened for variants in the past week appear to be omicron, said Dr. Ben Pinksy, director of the clinical virology laboratory, which does genomic sequencing for several Bay Area counties.

“It really picked up over the course of the last week. We went from very few to basically the majority being omicron,” Pinksy said. “I think nearly all of the cases will be omicron soon.”



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