Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Five Cases of Omicron Variant Identified During Northern California Outbreak

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Authorities have identified five mildly symptomatic cases of COVID-19 associated with the Omicron variant in Alameda County, health officials said Friday.

According to the Alameda County Public Health Department, patients are among 12 coronavirus cases in the area associated with a November 27 wedding in Wisconsin, which one of the patients attended after traveling overseas.

The government lab used genomic sequencing to identify five cases of the Omicron variant, but officials said such testing is not yet available for the remaining seven cases of coronavirus.

The patients are between 18 and 49 years old, officials said. One person is a Berkeley resident; the remaining 11 residents of the district.

All 12 people were vaccinated, and most of them received boosters, officials said. No one was hospitalized.

Public health officials are notifying those in close contact with patients and ensuring isolation and quarantine, authorities said.

“We don’t yet know how Omicron will affect a highly vaccinated region like the Bay Area,” the Health Department said in a statement. “We remind residents that vaccination continues to provide the best protection against severe COVID-19 disease that can lead to hospitalization and death.”

Officials continue to recommend vaccinations to the public, including booster vaccinations, if eligible; stay home if you get sick; wear a mask indoors; to wash hands; avoid crowds and poorly ventilated rooms; and get tested before and after any meeting or travel, or if the test is positive.

The disclosure came on the same day that San Diego County reported a spike in coronavirus cases, which health officials say is the result of Thanksgiving rallies.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,153 cases on Thursday, up from 600 in the previous two days, officials said in a statement.

The increase in cases is not believed to be related to the Omicron variant, which was not found in San Diego County.

“More than 1,150 cases were last reported on September 10, when 1,188 cases were identified,” officials said.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy public health official, said he suspects that more coronavirus cases are likely to rise in the coming months due to holiday gatherings.

“Unfortunately, such a rise after the holidays is not unexpected,” the Kaiser said in a statement. “We are closely monitoring any changes in cases that Omicron may cause, but we have seen similar spikes in the past.”

Omicron has also been found in recent travelers who live in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties. Both were vaccinated and neither required hospitalization.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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