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By Collin Breaux

Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that the omicron variant has been detected in California, marking the first such known case in the U.S.

News broke of the development on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed the case, based on reports from health officials.

“Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California at San Francisco, and the sequence was confirmed at the CDC as being consistent with the omicron variant,” Fauci said during a press briefing at the White House. “The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29.”

The individual is reportedly self-quarantining and all close contacts have tested negative. The individual also was fully vaccinated and experiencing mild symptoms, which are “improving at this point,” Fauci said.

“We knew that it was just a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States,” Fauci said. “We know what we need to do to protect people. Get vaccinated if you’re not already vaccinated. Get boosted if you’ve been vaccinated for more than six months with an MRNA (vaccine) or two months with J&J.”

Fauci also encouraged further masking in indoor settings. More information about aspects of the omicron variant—including the severity and level of transmissibility—is expected to become clearer in the coming weeks.

“For the people in California, we’ve been in contact with the public health officials in California,” Fauci said. “I’m not sure exactly what they’re going to say, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to say just do all the mitigation, all the things we’ve been talking about up to now.”

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at                         

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