The first positive case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 was reported today in a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The text of the CDC announcement is as follows:
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 (B.1.1.529).
The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, 2021. The individual, who was fully vaccinated and had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative.
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.
On Nov. 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and named it omicron, and on Nov. 30, 2021, the United States also classified it as a Variant of Concern.
CDC has been actively monitoring and preparing for this variant, and 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 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, and boosters are recommended for everyone 18 years and older.
For more information on the omicron variant, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/index.html.