With confirmation that the newest variant of COVID-19 is confirmed in California, state health officials say the state is well-equipped to handle the variant, called omicron.
The first case is a traveler who returned to San Francisco from South Africa November 22nd and tested positive a week later. The patient was fully vaccinated but had not received a booster shot and has mild symptoms, has been in quarantine and has recovered. Governor Gavin Newsom says there is no need to panic but urged Californians to remain vigilant and follow COVID-19 protocols, including wearing a mask indoors, getting tested and obtaining a booster shot.
In a White House news briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the case was in an individual who traveled from South Africa on November 22 -- before travel restrictions were in place -- and tested positive for Covid-19 on November 29. The person was fully vaccinated and is experiencing "mild symptoms, which are improving at this point," Fauci said. Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco's director of public health, said the person had not had a booster shot.
The White House has banned international travelers from eight countries in Southern Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.