LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County reported its fourth case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 Wednesday, saying the case is possibly the result of local transmission, unlike the previous infections that are believed to been travel-related.
According to the county Department of Public Health, the latest patient is fully vaccinated -- including a booster shot. The unidentified person had "mild symptoms" and had close contact with "multiple" people who have since tested positive for COVID-19, although it is still unknown if those cases involve the Omicron variant, which is blamed for a spike in infections in South Africa, where it was first detected.
Some of the patient's close contacts were also fully vaccinated, but the status of some others is still undetermined, health officials said.
The county did not provide other details of the new Omicron patient, only calling the case "a possible result of local transmission," meaning the variant is now being spread within the community.
"The identification of a case of Omicron attributed to community spread is a reminder that we all need to take necessary precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Celebrating with those we love this holiday season requires layering on the protections that are now available to us: vaccinations, boosters, masking up, and testing. This is how we slow the spread of Delta and Omicron."
Los Angeles County reported its first Omicron case last week, involving a person who had traveled to South Africa via London. The second and third cases were confirmed Monday -- one involving a USC student who had traveled to the East Coast for the Thanksgiving holiday, and another involving a person who had recently traveled to West Africa.
All three infections were deemed by health officials to be "travel- related," and all three patients were fully vaccinated and experienced only mild symptoms, county officials said.
The city of Long Beach, which has a health department separate from the county, confirmed its first Omicron case Tuesday. That person was also fully vaccinated, did not develop any symptoms and had recently traveled internationally, but not to the southern Africa region.
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