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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

First case of omicron in US identified in San Francisco

A San Francisco resident became the first in the United States to have an identified case of the omicron variant of COVID-19, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and UCSF said in a statement Wednesday.

The individual returned from South Africa on Nov. 25 and has mild symptoms, officials said.

The person had received a full dose of Moderna (two shots) but hadn’t received a booster shot, Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health, said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. The individual is self-quarantining

“The symptoms were very mild,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, where the genomic sequencing to identify the case was done. “It’s fitting with the other reports we’ve been hearing from around the world that people are getting mild symptoms. It’s probably the first of many many that we’ll be hearing about.”

The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from southern Africa, where the variant was first identified and had been widespread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was moving to tighten U.S. testing rules for travelers from overseas, including requiring a test for all travelers within a day of boarding a flight to the U.S. regardless of vaccination status. It was also considering mandating post-arrival testing.

Officials said those measures would only “buy time” for the country to learn more about the new variant and to take appropriate precautions, but that, given its transmissibility, omicron’s arrival in the U.S. was inevitable.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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