FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Health officials expect to see the contagious Omicron variant soon make its way into more Valley communities. It's already been detected in wastewater samples from Merced.
"We have not yet detected a case of the variant here in Fresno County," says Fresno County Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra. "However, we do feel that it's inevitable and is probably going to be in the next few days."
COVID transmission rates are rising in many California counties, but over the past month, Fresno County saw a decline in the number of people hospitalized because of the virus. They hope the trend continues.
"To think that 30 days ago we were just over 300 hospitalized patients and we're now at 184, that's a big change," says EMS Director Dan Lynch.
But hospitals remain busy throughout the Valley.
A rise in calls for medical aid coupled with a staffing shortage in Kern County prompted American Ambulance of Fresno County to send five paramedic ambulances and a supervisor to help handle 911 calls this week.
"We usually run at capacity or slightly over capacity at this time of year," Lynch said.
COVID cases continue to add to the crowded hospital conditions.
Health officials urge you to enjoy the holiday season but in a safe way.
"I think the best holiday gift you could give somebody is going out and get vaccinated," says Fresno County Health Division Manager Joe Prado. "First dose, second dose or even your booster dose."