LOS ANGELES (KNX) — With the first case of the omicron variant now in California, Los Angeles Health officials are urging all Angelenos to get vaccinated and take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 seriously.
“The vaccines are effective against the delta variant and very effective against earlier strains of the virus, which gives us hope that these same vaccines will also provide some protection against omicron,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
As the world works to determine how effective current vaccines are against the variant, all Angelenos are asked to adhere to vaccination verification and masking requirements, in addition to once again wearing masks when indoors or at outdoor mega events, the department said.
Testing is also recommended for anyone who has recently traveled for the holidays, the department said, adding that its lab is coordinating with the state lab to identify Omicron with specimen testing.
“Currently, anywhere between 1,500 to 5,000 positive specimens from L.A. County residents are sequenced each week with results reported to both L.A. County and the state,” officials said.
“Public Health will continue to rely on the network of commercial and public health labs to ensure that the County is receiving a representative assessment of the prevalent variants in L.A. County”
To date, the Public Health lab has not identified any presence of omicron in any sequenced specimens, and the delta variant remains the predominant variant in the County.
As of Tuesday there have been 27,184 COVID-19 deaths and 1,528,586 documented cases in the County. 562 people are currently hospitalized.
“To everyone experiencing the sorrow of losing a loved one to COVID-19, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you every day,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health said in a statement.
“While the spread of Omicron across the globe is worrisome, we have both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions at hand to respond to the emergence of a new variant of concern.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted a similar statement Wednesday, saying there is no need to panic, but that Californians must remain vigilant to prevent spread.