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Ómicron becomes the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Miami

In a matter of weeks, the omicron surpassed the delta as the dominant variant of the coronavirus in county Miami-Dade, according to genomic surveillance data.

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Genetic sequencing of the virus showed that the presence of the omicron variant grew from a small fraction of hundreds of samples taken in the first week of December to three out of four tests performed last week.

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“It is absolutely amazing how contagious this variant has proven to be,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told the Miami Herald newspaper. His office was in charge of providing the genomic surveillance data.

The county contracted with NOMI Health to perform the tests, administer the vaccines, and do the sequencing. The company found that 76% of the 504 COVID-19 tests conducted between December 14-15 were from the omicron. This compared to 64% of 378 tests performed between Dec. 10-13 and 1.3% of 373 samples taken Dec. 1-5, according to county records.

The variant is also sweeping the nation, accounting for 73% of new infections recorded last week, federal health officials reported.

The county is also seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, standing at 10% after falling to about 1% a month ago, according to the data.

Last week, Levine Cava reimposed an emergency order requiring hospitals to provide daily bed inventories and COVID-19 patient counts.

“And it is up to us to protect ourselves and the most important thing we can do is vaccinate,” he said.

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