Omicron Variant Now in Monroe County

The Monroe County Health Department says the first case of the Omicron variant has been detected in Rochester. It was spotted by researchers at the UR Medicine Laboratory.

Officials say its discovery was simply a matter of time, and they plan to release more information about it in a news conference tomorrow. They say keep wearing that mask if you're in an indoor space with other people, and get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the Health Department says there were 754 new confirmed COVID cases in Rochester as of Wednesday afternoon: 568 laboratory-confirmed cases, and 186 spotted by rapid home COVID tests. There are 502 people hospitalized across the Finger Lakes.

Governor Kathy Hochul said in Buffalo Wednesday that the state has five million more rapid test kits on the way, due to arrive on New Year's Eve. Two million are earmarked for school districts around the state, to be used in "test to stay" programs aimed at keeping kids possibly exposed to COVID in school as long as they continue to test negative. Governor Hochul says we can't set kids back by closing schools again.

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