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:
More information about COVID-19, testing and vaccinations can be found at coronavirus-sd.com.