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Sacramento County Public Health reporting nearly 43% of COVID-19 tests coming back positive

The County Community Testing Program gave more than 21,000 tests since Christmas, and Public Health Officer, Dr. Olivia Kasirye said test positivity rates increased.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As Sacramento County Public Health reports show positive COVID-19 case rates more than tripled in recent days, the number of tests distributed countywide is in the tens of thousands since Christmas.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said Thursday during the county's weekly update that test positivity rates were at 5.9% before the holiday spike. At-home tests kits have become some of the most sought-out items in recent days, and residents continue sitting in hours-long lines of cars waiting to be tested.

But health program manager Liz Gomez said testing rates in the county are leveling off. And the virus spike might also be waning, too.

"All the projections indicate we will reach a peak somewhere in late January or early February," Kasirye said. "The omicron variant seems to have milder symptoms compared to other variants."

Kasirye added the county is also working with hospitals and the state to increase surge capacity and submitting requests for staffing support from the state.

Local school superintendents and correctional health are also working with the county to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are being followed, though health officials haven't signaled a change to the county's hands-off enforcement practice.

Test processing delays from the state lab are delaying results by one to two days as the lab increases its capacity, as well. Sacramento County reported a 7-day average rate of almost 3,000 positive cases a day, and two virus-related deaths per day.

"We ask that you preserve emergency room visits for real emergencies," Kasirye said.

WATCH MORE: Advocates call for release of some at-risk inmates as COVID cases surge in Sacramento County

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