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KCBX News Update: Omicron detected in SLO County, and SLO County libraries expand free job training programs

A polling location in San Luis Obispo prepares for election day.
Gabriela Fernandez
A polling location in San Luis Obispo prepares for election day.

First case of Omicron variant announced in San Luis Obispo County 

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has now been detected in San Luis Obispo County, according to a Public Health announcement today.

The department is not releasing most demographic information on the person out of privacy concerns, but the person is a SLO County resident.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said in an announcement Friday, “It was only a matter of time before the Omicron variant would find its way to our community and we want to reassure our community that we have a strong surveillance system in place to identify any future cases of COVID-19 that carry the Omicron variant.”

However, Delta is still the predominant variant in the county, though the department said it would keep the public notified if that changes.

Borenstein also reported that an additional three county residents have died from COVID-19.

The recent deaths ranged in age from their 30s to 70s, bringing the total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in SLO County to 370.

The county had 153 new cases of COVID-19 since last Tuesday with 15 residents in the hospital, including four people in the intensive care unit.

More information is available at

SLO County libraries expand free online job training with funding from American Rescue Plan Act

Libraries in San Luis Obispo County now have more free online job training, thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The California State Library recently announced the award of a more than $4 million grant to provide libraries across the state access to online job training, skill building, academic and vocational exam prep, and professional development.

San Luis Obispo County says the money allows county residents access to learning programs like Coursera, GetSetUp, LearningExpress, LinkedIn Learning, Northstar and Skillshare.

SLO County residents who would like a library card can register online for an eCard or visit any of the library’s 14 branches.

More information is available at

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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