SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — No cases of the new COVID-19 variant have been detected in California, but state health officials said they’re keeping an eye on the omicron variant.
The variant was first found in South Africa and is not yet on the list of ten variants actively being tracked in California. With no cases detected in the U.S. overall, state health officials told FOX40 it’s only a matter of time.
California has a public-private sector partnership to analyze genomic sequencing called COVID-NET that officials said will help detect the omicron variant early in the state.
At airports across California, state officials said they’re preparing to increase COVID-19 testing for legal residents returning from some African countries.
Health leaders said they’re also doubling down on COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot efforts.
COVID-19 numbers are slightly increasing following the holiday weekend with a 3% positivity rate statewide. The state is averaging about 4,100 new COVID cases per day.
The latest data showed the other variant of concern, the delta variant, accounts for 99% of cases sequenced.
State leaders have warned of a potential winter surge. Those warnings, coupled with the emergence of the omicron variant, prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to tweet the following Saturday:
The California Department of Public Health said it’s in communication with federal health officials to continue gathering information on the new variant.