The first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the US has been identified in California.
The first case identified in California, US with Omicron variant of COVID returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, the person is fully vaccinated and have mild symptoms, Dr. Fauci said on Wednesday.
Dr. Fauci said, “The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health and the CDC have confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 among an individual in California was caused by the omicron variant.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health and the CDC have confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 among an individual in California was caused by the omicron variant."
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 1, 2021
The announcement comes as scientists continue to investigate the dangers posed by the new strain of the virus. Late last month, the Biden administration made a decision to restrict travel from Southern Africa, where the variant was first identified and had spread widely.
Omicron is classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. WHO stated in a technical brief issued this week that the variant poses a “very high” global risk. Scientists in South Africa discovered the variant, which has since been detected in several countries.
CDC statement on the new Omicron variant case detected in California, US:
The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health have confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 among an individual in California was caused by the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021. The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative.
Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and the sequence was confirmed at CDC as being consistent with the Omicron variant. This will be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States.
On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and named it Omicron and on November 30, 2021, the United States also classified it as a Variant of Concern. CDC has been actively monitoring and preparing for this variant, and we will continue to work diligently with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more. Despite the detection of Omicron, Delta remains the predominant strain in the United States.
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and general prevention strategies needed to protect against COVID-19. Everyone 5 and older should get vaccinated boosters are recommended for everyone 18 years and older.
For more information on the Omicron variant visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/index.html.