Omicron variant detected in Los Angeles

Omicron variant detected in Los Angeles

The highly transmissible Omicron COVID-19 variant has now been detected in the country’s second-largest city, in addition to New York.

A person who traveled to LAX from South Africa before Thanksgiving tested positive for the new mutation, Los Angeles County officials announced Thursday.

The adult’s symptoms are improving in self-isolation without medical care, officials announced.

The California patient’s plight mirrors that of a 67-year-old Long Island woman, who had recently returned from South Africa before testing positive for the variant earlier this week, New York officials said Thursday.

Four other people in New York City also tested positive for the Omicron strain, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a rare joint briefing in Manhattan.

De Blasio shared that four people in New York City have also tested positive for the Omicron variant.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that four people in NYC tested positive for Omicron on Dec. 2, 2021.

Leaders on both coasts said the arrival of the variant was imminent in their cities and urged people to get vaccinated and tested, mask up, and practice social distancing.

“While we can’t know for certain the impact of Omicron at this time, the good news is that we already know how to reduce transmission and slow spread using both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County Director of Public Health.

Travelers wait in line for screening near a sign for a COVID-19 testing site at the Los Angeles International Airport.
President Biden recently restricted travel to the US from eight nations in southern Africa.
AP / Jae C. Hong

“We feel good about this,” Hochul said of the state’s readiness, adding she directed officials not to overreact.

“We’re not complacent. We’re not sitting back and saying we’re fine. We’re saying that we have so much available to us that we’re ready to deploy.”

The first US case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant was found in San Francisco, federal officials said Wednesday. A woman who had also recently returned from South Africa had tested positive, the CDC announced.

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