Miami-Dade screens random coronavirus test samples for omicron variant

With the omicron variant spreading around the world, there is a race to track cases to gather more data to develop appropriate public health measures.

MIAMI – With the omicron variant spreading around the world, there is a race to detect its presence in Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said coronavirus testing with Nomi now includes a genetic sequencing screening of random positive samples.

“We want to know when does omicron come into our community,” Levine Cava said.

Dr. Jillian Harrington, the laboratory director at Nomi, said the variants emerge as the virus mutates to escape the immune system’s defensive response. She wants you to think of the virus as a cake.

“You’re taking the cake and you’re breaking it down into the individual ingredients,” Harrington said about the process to identify the omicron variant.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is counting on receiving the data from Miami-Dade County for analysis that can influence decisions on travel bans and other mitigating measures.

“So we are going to tailor our vaccination, our masking, our general protection based on the information we get,” Levine Cava said.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.