Newsom: Omicron Variation Won’t Spark California Outage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Confirmation of the first U.S. case of the omicron variant in California is not surprising and should no longer be forced to shut down over the holidays, Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. .

State health officials say they are ramping up COVID-19 testing at California’s airports for arrivals from countries identified as areas by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. that the newly identified variant is spreading. But if it doesn’t, Newsom said he doesn’t anticipate that the most populous state will impose another stay-at-home order or other new restrictions.

“Look, I’m confident if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, which is to continue to be in the top 10 for lowest case rates and highest vaccination rates, lowest positivity rates, that won’t be a problem,” he said during a visit to Merced County in the Central Valley to promote vaccinations and booster shots.

Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order in March 2020. In September, he manually defeated an attempt to recall him prompted by frustration with the restrictions. His is designed to slow the spread of the virus.

The first US case of the omicron variant was identified in a San Francisco resident who recently traveled to South Africa and developed symptoms upon return, California health officials said. San Francisco Health Director Grant Colfax said.

The person returned on November 22, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco took samples from the patient Tuesday night and worked overnight to identify the variant through gene sequencing.

State and local health officials declined to provide many details about the person, citing privacy concerns, but Newsom said the person was between the ages of 18 and 49. The patient, who developed mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization, was fully vaccinated but was not told by Newsom.

State health officials said they are continuing to monitor the presence and progression of this variant through California’s existing genome-sequencing surveillance process.

California’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said the fact that an infected person was vaccinated could lead some to question the effectiveness of the vaccine, especially with respect to the variant that was discovered. present recently.

“We’ve been talking for months about vaccinations doing something really, really important: protect against serious illness, against hospitalizations and deaths,” he said. “And the evidence that a person with omicron … actually has mild symptoms, is improving, is proof of the importance of vaccination.”

Ghaly said people can expect to see more cases in California. “That’s why we need to be on high alert,” he said.

State health officials urge people to continue the same precautions they have encouraged all along: Vaccinations and booster shots; wearing a mask indoors in public; get tested if symptoms develop; and stay home if you feel sick.

California experienced its worst holiday surge last year. The most recent cases spiked in late summer and then dropped rapidly until the majority dropped. About 3,200 people were hospitalized, less than half of what it was three months ago. Newsom: Omicron Variation Won’t Spark California Outage


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