Omicron variant is designated as variant of concern | News


The new COVID-19 omicron variant has been detected in several states, including California, and is very likely to keep spreading, health officials said.

On Nov. 26, the World Health Organization designated omicron as a variant of concern. Omicron was first identified by health authorities in Botswana and South Africa, and it has now been reported in at least 14 countries.

Authorities are still learning about the new variant, including how it spreads and infects individuals as well as how it responds to vaccines. Here are some questions and answers:

• How is the omicron variant different from the other strains of coronavirus?

At this time, we do not know if this new variant causes more severe COVID-19 illness than other variants, whether it is more transmissible or how it might impact response to treatment.

• Can current COVID-19 tests detect the omicron variant?

The current understanding is that available PCR and antigen tests should be able to detect this variant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently confirming this information.

• How can I protect myself from this new variant?

It’s not too late for anyone eligible to get vaccinated or boosted to protect themselves and others against COVID-19, including variants.

• The California Department of Public Health recommends everyone wear masks in indoor public places (such as grocery stores and movie theaters) regardless of vaccination status. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you are feeling sick, stay home. To find a testing or vaccination site near you, visit https://sbcovid19.com.

More information on the omicron variant can be found at https://sbcovid19.com/faq/#covid19-variants.



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