Prior to state health officials on Monday confirming the presence of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the area, Sutter County on Monday reported another COVID-related death for the region that now has a death toll of 293 attributed to the deadly virus.

The latest death reported for Sutter County was an unvaccinated person in their early 70s, county health officials said. No information on underlying health conditions or other comorbidities were given, despite a request from the Appeal.

As of Monday, 91.25 percent of all deaths in Yuba and Sutter counties related to COVID-19 have been among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals since January 2021.

COVID-19 cases also have continued to climb in the area, with 526 reported Monday for both Yuba and Sutter counties. There were 54 residents listed as hospitalized with COVID on Monday with eight in the intensive care unit.

As with fatality numbers, hospitalizations as a result of COVID have primarily affected the unvaccinated, who make up 89.5 percent of those hospitalized since January 2021.

Health officials across the nation and world have urged COVID vaccinations to not only help prevent the spread of the virus, but also curb hospitalizations and deaths. Numerous studies and reports have shown the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines at preventing serious illness or death.

To schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination or booster shot, visit https://myturn.ca.gov. 

Also on Monday, the State Public Health Lab confirmed the presence of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Yuba and Sutter counties.

Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said the variant was confirmed by the state lab in random samples of tests from late December 2021 at Optum Serve sites in the two counties.

“We don’t have a lab in our counties that can test samples for whole genome sequencing. Instead, we rely on the State Public Health Lab to conduct these tests on behalf of Yuba County and Sutter County,” Luu said in an email Monday. “Today, the State Public Health Lab confirmed five cases of omicron … in Sutter County and two cases from samples taken in Yuba County. This confirms what we understood all along – the omicron variant is here as it is in the rest of California and the United States.”

As a result of increased cases attributed in part to the omicron variant, an alert was issued Friday urging residents in the region to not go to Adventist Health/Rideout’s emergency room for COVID-19 testing.

As reported by the Appeal on Saturday, officials said a rise in hospitalizations is coming at a time of “severe hospital staffing shortages, caused by many healthcare workers having to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.”

For that reason, people were urged to avoid the ER at the hospital unless absolutely necessary.

Health officials said residents who need a COVID-19 test in Sutter and Yuba counties can view options available on each county’s website.

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