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Omicron is dominant in wastewater samples in Central Florida county

Orange County, home to the nation’s largest theme park resorts, says the new variant has quickly surpassed delta — representing almost 100% of the strains in samples collected this week.
In this Aug. 30 file photo, the newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with the crest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theme park, in Lake Buena Vista. Even though there have been no cases of clinical infection, the new omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the Florida county that is home to the nation’s largest theme park resorts. That's based on wastewater samples. Officials said Wednesday that the omicron variant has quickly surpassed the delta variant in collections taken from wastewater sampling sites in Orange County. It’s a different story when it comes to people seeking treatment for COVID-19, though. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at a news conference Wednesday that those being hospitalized primarily have been infected with the delta variant.
In this Aug. 30 file photo, the newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with the crest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theme park, in Lake Buena Vista. Even though there have been no cases of clinical infection, the new omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the Florida county that is home to the nation’s largest theme park resorts. That's based on wastewater samples. Officials said Wednesday that the omicron variant has quickly surpassed the delta variant in collections taken from wastewater sampling sites in Orange County. It’s a different story when it comes to people seeking treatment for COVID-19, though. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at a news conference Wednesday that those being hospitalized primarily have been infected with the delta variant. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP ]
Published Dec. 16, 2021

ORLANDO — Even though there have been practically no cases of clinical infection, wastewater samples show that the new omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the Florida county that is home to the nation’s largest theme park resorts, officials said this week.

The omicron variant has quickly surpassed the delta variant in collections taken from wastewater sampling sites in Orange County, officials said.

A sampling this week showed that omicron represented almost 100% of the strains in the samples from the wastewater facilities, Orange County Utilities spokesperson Sarah Lux said in an email.

It’s a different story when it comes to people seeking treatment for COVID-19, officials said.

“Those who are hospitalized are being primarily infected by the delta variant,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said Wednesday at a news conference held at the Orlando International Airport.

Although tourist numbers have dropped since the start of the pandemic, tens of millions still travel to Orlando each year to visit the area’s famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

Scientists have said omicron is more contagious than delta, but it’s unclear whether omicron’s rapid spread will overwhelm hospitals. They said it’s too soon to draw conclusions since the variant is quite new and hospitalizations can lag weeks behind infections.

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