December 07, 2021
On December 1, 2021, the first U.S. case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was confirmed in San Francisco, with cases having since been identified elsewhere in the state and across the country. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released a fact sheet about Omicron, a variant first identified in South Africa on Nov. 24, and since designated a Variant of Concern by the World Health Organization.
CDPH is monitoring for the presence of the variant in California through the California SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing Initiative, known as COVIDNet. This is a public-private partnership that provides California with genomic sequencing to help understand and control the spread of COVID-19.
To help detect and prevent the spread of this new variant, all inbound international travelers are required to test within one day of departure for the United States, regardless of vaccination status.
Heading into an anticipated winter surge of COVID-19, we are still learning about the new variant, including how it spreads and infects individuals as well as how it responds to vaccines. The California Medical Association will continue to monitor these developments and will publish updates as new information becomes available.
Virtual Grand Rounds on Omicron
Today, in our 18th installment of our monthly Virtual Grand Rounds — COVID-19 and the Holidays: Where Do We Stand and Updates on Testing and Outpatient Treatment — California’s State Epidemiologist Erica Pan, M.D. gave an update on the status of COVID-19 in California in general, and what we know—and don’t know—about the Omicron variant.
If you were unable to attend the live webinar, it is now available for on-demand playback at covidroundsca.org.