Upstate’s lab explains two-week timeline for Onondaga County’s first detected case of Omicron spread

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A person feeling symptoms of coronavirus and tested in late November turned out to be Onondaga County’s first case of the omicron variant, as detected by Upstate Medical University’s lab over the weekend.

At his briefing Monday, the Onondaga County Executive was first to announce the positive case from “late November.”

NewsChannel 9 has learned the person was tested on November 30, resulting in a positive case of generic coronavirus on December 1.

Because every positive case from 40 counties is sent in for sequencing, samples go into a waiting queue for advanced chemistry and computer analysis. It was put on the machine on Friday, December 10 and the computer flagged Omicron components in its DNA over the weekend.

Upstate Medical University tells NewsChannel 9 it added staff to increase the sequencing turnaround time from about 10 days to between six and seven days.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said Monday that the person positive for Omicron had only one of two vaccine doses, not yet due for his or her second shot. She said he or she had mild symptoms, didn’t need hospitalization and has already been released from isolation.

Contact tracing hasn’t found any spread from this person to anyone else, but the health department is still investigating. Because the infected person hadn’t traveled, it was likely spread by someone else in Onondaga County.

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