Written by Amani Nilar
02 Dec, 2021 | 7:59 am
(News 1st); The United States’ first confirmed case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been identified in California.
In a White House news briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the case was identified with an individual who traveled from South Africa on November 22 (before travel restrictions were in place) and tested positive for COVID-19 on 29th November.
The relevant individual is self-quarantining and close contacts have tested negative for the coronavirus so far, and the individual has been fully vaccinated and is experiencing mild symptoms, according to Dr, Fauci.
The California and San Francisco public health departments confirmed the case was caused by the Omicron variant through genomic sequencing conducted at the University of California at San Francisco, and the sequence was confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Color Health said in a statement it returned the positive test result through an San Francisco COVID-19 testing program, and Omicron was identified in under 30 hours “from the time of collection to strain confirmation.”
The World Health Organization recently designated Omicron a “variant of concern.” In a technical brief released this week, WHO noted that the variant poses a “very high” global risk. The variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa, and has since been detected in several countries.
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