SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — There has been a sharp increase in COVID-19 levels detected in wastewater in Santa Clara County, according to a press release sent out by the county’s public health department. The release, sent by the County of Santa Clara Emergency Operations Center / Public Health Department, cites wastewater levels in the county’s four wastewater sewersheds.

All four county sewersheds are currently in the high category for COVID-19 concentration levels, the release states. Levels for the Palo Alto sewershed are higher than they were in January 2022, during the height of the omicron surge last winter.

“The current rise in COVID-19, along with high levels of flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) within the County, should serve as a stark reminder for everyone eligible to get vaccinated against both flu and COVID as soon as possible, especially in advance of the holidays,” the press release reads in part.

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“Unfortunately, we have seen COVID-19 surge during the holidays the previous two years so this is not unexpected,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara. “Thankfully, there are actions each of us can take to live as safely as possible with COVID-19.  For those that haven’t already, now is the time to get your flu vaccine and bivalent COVID-19 booster, and we continue to strongly recommend testing before gathering and wearing a mask indoors in public settings.”

Additionally, there was a steady rise of hospitalized patients in November, according to the press release. On Nov. 1, there were 98 COVID-19 positive cases in county hospitals. By Dec. 2, that number had spiked to 218.

The health department is also urging people to get vaccinated and boosted ahead of a possible winter surge.

“Everyone is encouraged to check with their primary physician about receiving the flu and bivalent omicron booster vaccines,” the press release reads.

It recommends that those without a primary healthcare provider or who are having difficulty finding an appointment visit www.sccfreevax.org to make an appointment. There is no cost to be vaccinated at a county location and no questions will be asked regarding immigration status, the release states.