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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

There are no known cases of omicron in Orange County despite high levels of virus in wastewater

Dr. Raul Pino speaks at briefing
Orange County
Dr. Raul Pino, right, speaking at a county briefing Wednesday. says that based on the level of omicron in Orange County wastewater facilities, the first cases cof omicron ould be detected as early as next week.

Dr. Raul Pino, medical director of the county's Department of Health, says the majority of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the region continue to be from the delta variant.

There are no known cases of the omicron variant in Orange County despite evidence of the COVID strain in local wastewater facilities, county leaders said Wednesday. 

Dr. Raul Pino, medical director of the county's Department of Health, says the majority of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the area continue to be from the delta variant. 

There has not yet been a confirmed case of the omicron variant in the county, he said at a county briefing on COVID.  That 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, he said.

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

Pino said that based on the level of omicron in county 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," Pino said. "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.”

Pino added while omicron is highly transmissible, the variant tends to cause less serious illness than delta.

He recommended people continue masking, social distancing and getting vaccinated.

Cases of the variant have been found elsewhere in Florida, at least 33 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.