The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will prepare safety measures in response to potential challenges presented by the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
The World Health Organization released new information about Omicron, which the organization noted as a “variant of concern.” The variant was first identified in South Africa, but countries such as England, Italy and others have reported cases of Omicron.
In Los Angeles County, the Delta variant of COVID-19 remains the dominant variant detected among county residents and continues to account for 100% of cases, according to Public Health.
“Omicron is being closely monitored as we work with others across the globe to prepare to mitigate the challenges a new variant of concern may pose for residents and workers across the county,” Public Health officials said in a prepared statement.
The federal government and the Centers for Disease Control also announced travel restrictions to and from South Africa to prevent transmission of the Omicron variant.
Public Health officials noted more studies are needed to determine whether the Omicron variant is more contagious, more deadly or resistant to vaccine and treatments than other COVID-19 strains.
“The most important strategy remains making sure that everyone 5 years and older gets fully vaccinated or receives their booster dose as quickly as possible to reduce transmission of the virus currently dominating across the country,” Public Health officials said in the prepared statement.
Residents should continue adhering to the masking requirements and wear a mask when indoors or at large outdoor mega events regardless of vaccination status, according to Public Health officials.
The Department of Public Health added residents should continue to isolate and quarantine if they have a positive COVID-19 test result or have COVID-19 symptoms.
“While we are still learning much about Omicron, we know enough about COVID to take steps now that can reduce transmission as we prepare to better understand the additional strategies that may needed to mitigate this new variant of concerns,” Public Health officials said in the prepared statement.