Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Miriam Raftery

Map credit:  CDC

December 9, 2021 (San Diego) – The first case of the newly-identified Omicron COVID-19 variant has occurred in San Diego. The patient is a San diego resident who recently traveled abroad. He has not been hospitalized but is under isolation.

The County is investigating to identify people who may have had close contact with the patient. Omicron, first identified in November in South Africa, appears to spread more easily than previous versions of COVID, though early data suggests it may tend to cause fewer severe outcomes. Though the Omicron variant has been found in 28 U.S. states so far, the Delta variant remains the greatest concern, accounting for the vast majority of serious illnesses and deaths from COVID in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. 

The local patient had been vaccinated and received a booster shot, which likey protected the patient from a severe case. The case was identifed by whole genome sequencing testing done by the San Diego Epidemiology and Research for COVID Health (Search) Alliance. 

“We expected that the Omicron variant would make its way to San Diego, and it has,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We are continuing to monitor for the Omicron variant and will report any other cases to the public when they are identified.”

Dr. Wooten recommends the following measures to protect against all varieties of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant:

• Get vaccinated and get a booster if you qualify. The vaccine is available free at health care providers, retail pharmacies and community clinics. You can also make an appointment or find a site near you by calling (833) 422-4255 or visiting the My Turn website.
• Wear a mask, especially in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
• Get tested if you have any symptoms, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not. You can make a free test appointment or find a walk-in test clinic at
• Wash your hands frequently,stay home if you’re sick and practice social distancing.

More information about COVID-19, testing and vaccinations can be found at

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.