How California is Preparing for the Omicron Variant

The new omicron variant hasn’t been detected in the U.S. yet, but experts say it’s only a matter of time. First discovered in South Africa, the worrying strain contains a set of mutations that could make it more transmissible than Delta and more likely to evade immune protection.

No matter how destructive omicron turns out to be, the era of lockdowns appears to be over.

“We’re going to fight COVID this winter — not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more,” President Biden said Monday.

Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also confirmed the county has no plans for tough, new restrictions. The county is urging residents to mask up, test regularly, and get their vaccinations and/or booster shots.

The California Department of Public Health will also expand COVID-19 testing at airports that serve travelers from Southern Africa.

Sacramento businesses are bracing for impact, KCRA reports. The Fresno County Department of Public Health issued a statement Tuesday, saying it is following the latest developments and working closely with the state.

In Marin, officials say they’re confident they’ll be able to detect omicron’s presence relatively soon after arrival. That’s because the county sends about a quarter of its positive COVID-19 samples out for genomic sequencing.

Read more about the omicron variant and what it could mean for the state here.

Update: The U.S.' first case of the omicron variant was confirmed today in California. 


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