‘A deluge of omicron’ is coming, Santa Clara County’s health officer says

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said Thursday she expects a “deluge” of omicron cases in the county as the variant begins sweeping across the Bay Area and residents start traveling and gathering for the holidays.

“What I see is perhaps one of the most challenging moments we’ve had yet in the pandemic,” Cody said at a news conference. “And I think it’s challenging because it’s not what we’re expecting. We’ve all come to live with COVID over the last two years, and we’re all a bit tired. But I want to let you know, when I look around the corner, I see a lot of COVID, and a lot of omicron.”

Although the number of omicron cases in Santa Clara County remains low — 10 as of Thursday — there are indications those numbers will soon rise, Cody said. Last week, the county announced a single omicron case but noted it found the new variant in a sewer shed in its northern region. By Thursday, Cody said the county had detected omicron in all four of its sewer sheds, which she said covers a majority of the region’s population.

And while Santa Clara County’s vaccination numbers remain some of the highest in the country — 80% of all vaccine-eligible individuals in the entire region are vaccinated with at least two doses — worldwide evidence suggests the county may not be able to escape a widespread outbreak of the new variant.

That is another reason everyone age 16 and older should get a booster shot, she urged.

She said Norway and Denmark, which have vaccination rates similar to Santa Clara County’s, are seeing high numbers of omicron cases.

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