First case of omicron in US recognized in San Francisco

A person in San Francisco became the first in the United States to have an identified case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday.

The case has been identified by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and UCSF, the governor’s office said.

The person returned from South Africa on November 22, said Dr. Infectious disease expert Peter Chin Hong told KCBS Radio on Wednesday afternoon. The person was fully vaccinated but had not received a booster.

. @ CAPublicHealth, @SF_DPH & @UCSF have discovered a case of the Omicron variant.

As we learn more about Omicron, there is no need to panic, but we should remain vigilant.

We know how to protect ourselves from COVID – get vaccinated, get boosters & wear a mask.

– California Governor’s Office (@CAgovernor) December 1, 2021

The Biden government decided late last month to restrict travel from southern Africa, where the variant was first identified and widely used. Case clusters have also been identified in around two dozen other countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tightened US testing rules for overseas travelers, including requiring that all travelers be tested within one day of boarding a flight to the US regardless of vaccination status. It also considered ordering tests upon arrival.

Officials said these measures would only “buy up” the country to learn more about the new variant and take appropriate precautions, but given its portability, the arrival of Omicron in the US is inevitable.

This is a development story and will be updated.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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