L.A. County reports first case of Omicron variant

FILE PHOTO. Photo credit Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (KNX) — The first documented case of the Omicron variant has been detected in Los Angeles, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

"The individual returned to L.A. County after travel to South Africa via London on Nov. 22 2021," the department shared in a statement. "This infection is most likely travel-related."

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Health officials added that the person is a fully vaccinated adult and an L.A. County resident who is now is self-isolating.

"Their symptoms are improving without medical care," health officials said. "A small number of close contacts in L.A. have been identified and, to date, all have tested negative and have no symptoms."

Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said throughout the pandemic health officials have always known there would be more mutations, possibly more deadly than the Delta variant.

“While we can’t know for certain the impact of Omicron at this time, the good news is that we already know how to reduce transmission and slow spread using both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions," she said.

"I encourage everyone to take the steps that we know offer protection, including getting vaccinated or boosted, tested if you feel sick or are a close contact, and wearing your mask indoors and at large mega events.”

In order to prevent the potential spread of the variant, international travelers arriving at the LAX international terminal will be offered free rapid COVID-19 tests and information on federal recommendations for quarantining and testing beginning on Friday.

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