First confirmed case of Omicron variant detected in the United States
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.
According to a news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021.
The unnamed person, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive, the CDC said.
All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative.
Agency officials said 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,” CDC officials wrote in the news release.
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.
On November 30, 2021, the United States also classified it as a “Variant of Concern.”
The CDC said it has been actively monitoring and preparing for the variant, and the agency 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 CDC stated.
“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.”