First confirmed US case of Omicron coronavirus variant discovered in California – Community News

First confirmed US case of Omicron coronavirus variant discovered in California

In a White House press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that was the case in a person who traveled from South Africa on Nov. 22 – before travel restrictions were in effect – and tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov. 29.

That person, Fauci said, is in self-quarantine and close contacts have so far tested negative for the coronavirus.

The person was fully vaccinated and is experiencing “mild symptoms, which are improving at this point,” Fauci said. dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s public health director, said the person hadn’t had a booster shot.

The public health departments of California and San Francisco confirmed that the case was caused by the Omicron variant through genomic sequencing conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and the sequence was confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Color Health said in a statement that it returned the positive test result through a San Francisco Covid-19 testing program, and Omicron was identified within 30 hours “from collection to strain confirmation.”

The World Health Organization labels Omicron as a “variety of care”. In a technical briefing released this week, the WHO noted that the variant poses a “very high” global risk. The variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa and has since been detected in several countries.

Scientists are working to determine how transmissible the variant is, how sick it makes people and how well current vaccines work against it. Until more information about the variant is known, the United States has restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries.

On Monday, President Joe Biden called the variant “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” saying, “we will have to face this new threat just as we face those who have come before it.”

Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, or get a booster if they qualify. Other measures such as masks, hand washing, physical distancing and ventilation will still work against the Omicron variant.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus remains the dominant variant worldwide and in the United States.