Oakland, California (AP). At least five people in Northern California have contracted the omicronic variant of the coronavirus, and the outbreak is linked to a Wisconsin wedding last month, public health officials said Friday.
The outbreak was announced just two days after the first omicron case in the United States was identified in California.
Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more infectious than previous strains, whether it causes more serious illness in humans, and whether it might interfere with vaccine administration.
The five people who have had omicron cases confirmed are part of a group of 12 vaccinated people in Alameda County who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Alameda County Public Health Department. They are related to a November 27 wedding in Wisconsin, “which one of these people attended upon returning from an international trip,” the agency said.
People have been vaccinated and have “mildly symptomatic cases.” Genomic sequencing of the remaining seven cases has not yet been completed.
Public health officials did not say where or when the person traveled around the world, and did not immediately respond to questions about the Wisconsin wedding.
Officials said that “most” of the 12 people received booster vaccinations; they are between 18 and 49 years old.
Late last month, the Biden administration took action to restrict travel from southern Africa, where the option was first identified and widespread. Case groups have also been identified in about two dozen other countries.