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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

LA County confirms first COVID-19 case of type Omicron

Southern California has the first confirmed case of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, a day after the nation’s first case was confirmed in San Francisco, Los Angeles County public health officials confirmed Thursday evening, Dec.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement on Thursday that the man returned to the area on November 22 after traveling to South Africa via London. Health officials said the infection was most likely related to travel.

The new variant, which has sent scientists to assess its severity, has so far been confirmed in nearly two dozen countries, but was first identified in South Africa. The LA County case came on the same day that several other cases were reported in the US, first in Minnesota and then in Hawaii and Colorado – and five in the New York City area.

The circumstances of those cases seemed to indicate that the variant had begun to spread.

The cases in San Francisco, Minnesota and Los Angeles County are all believed to be travel-related, with both patients from California having recently traveled to South Africa; The San Francisco patient had returned from South Africa on the same day that LA County traveled there. The Minnesota man had recently traveled to New York.

While much is unknown about this variant, it may spread more easily than others, including the delta variant — the coronavirus mutation that preceded Omicron — according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization has listed it as a type of concern.

“CDC is actively monitoring and preparing this edition,” the federal health agency said in a statement after the Minnesota case was confirmed. “CDC has expanded its capacity for genomic sequencing over the past nine months and we have more tools to fight this variant than we did last year.”

The CDC statement refers, in part, to the vaccines now available.

People in Minnesota and California who tested positive for the Omicron variant were all vaccinated.

Health officials said the Los Angeles County resident who tested positive for the Omicron variant was fully vaccinated — people in San Francisco and Minnesota were also vaccinated — and was self-isolating. The person’s symptoms are improving without medical care.

A small number of close contacts have also been identified and all have tested negative and had no symptoms so far, officials said.

“During epidemics we have always known that there will be more mutations, which will likely result in a more dangerous variant than the delta variant,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s public health department.

World Nation News Desk
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