California has recorded its second confirmed case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, this one in Los Angeles County.
There is currently no indication of a larger outbreak, and officials are urging people not to panic, saying they don’t see the need for more restrictions at this time.
This is what we know:
The infection, county officials said, was most likely travel-related, as the person had returned to Los Angeles after flying to South Africa via London on November 22 – just days before the announcement of Omicron’s detection and the World Health Organization has officially declared it a “variant of concern”.
“A small number of close contacts in Los Angeles have been identified and, to date, all have tested negative and have no symptoms,” county officials said in a statement.
The infected adult, identified only as a fully vaccinated LA County resident, “is self-isolating and his symptoms are improving without medical attention,” the county said.
The LA case came a day after San Francisco announced the first confirmed infection with Omicron in the United States, the first identified in the United States. Since the initial discovery, additional cases have been found in Colorado, New York, Hawaii, and Minnesota.
“Throughout the pandemic, we always knew there would be more mutations, leading to the possibility of a variant more dangerous than the Delta variant,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara. Ferrer, in a statement. “While we can’t know for sure the impact of Omicron at this time, the good news is that we already know how to reduce transmission and slow the spread using both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions. “
The infected San Francisco resident also returned from South Africa on November 22, according to local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person developed symptoms around November 25 – Thanksgiving – and was tested on Sunday.
Citing privacy, health officials have released few details about the individual other than that the person is between the ages of 18 and 49.
The person was fully immunized and had mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization. Officials said the individual’s condition was improving on Wednesday.
Authorities are urging residents to get tested for the coronavirus more frequently when it makes sense, especially if they plan to travel or reunite with family or friends during the holiday season.
The increase in testing has long been a centerpiece of the local and federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These screens became even more important after the discovery of the new, highly mutated strain.
LA County will ask qualified nursing facilities to introduce more routine testing for residents and staff, “and to offer rapid testing for visitors entering the interior spaces of these facilities,” said Ferrer Thursday.