The first case of the extensively mutated Omicron version of the coronavirus was recorded in Los Angeles County on Thursday evening, a development that, while not anticipated, highlights the need for citizens to continue to take precautions, according to public health experts.
The illness was most likely travel-related, according to county officials, because the individual had returned from a flight to South Africa through London on Nov. 22 — just days before Omicron’s discovery was made public and the World Health Organization formally labelled it a “variant of concern.”
The adult, named only as a vaccinated L.A. County resident, is “self-isolating,” according to the county, and “their symptoms are improving without medical assistance.”
Officials in the nation’s most populous county confirmed the variety as they recommended residents to get tested for the coronavirus more frequently when it makes sense, especially if they plan to travel or congregate with family or friends during the Christmas season.
Increased testing has long been a focal point of both the local and national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the identification of the new highly altered strain, such checks have become even more vital.
L.A. County intends to urge skilled nursing homes to do more routine testing of residents and employees, “as well as to provide fast testing for visitors who enter any interior rooms at these facilities,” Ferrer said on Thursday.
The county will also set up a free quick testing centre for arriving travelers at Los Angeles International Airport’s international terminal on Friday, in collaboration with the state and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Testing is still necessary. “It’s a critical tool for promptly detecting instances and, as a result, reducing spread,” Ferrer added.