SACRAMENTO – State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Dr. Tomás J. Aragón issued the following statement today on the Omicron variant.
“California is closely monitoring the new Omicron variant, which has not yet arrived in California or the U.S. Vaccines continue to be our best way through the pandemic by safely protecting us against severe illness from COVID-19 and its variants. We are doubling down on our vaccination and booster efforts to ensure that all Californians have access to safe, effective, and free vaccines that can prevent serious illness and death.”
CDPH is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation related to the new variant of concern, B.1.1.529 or Omicron, as labeled by the World Health Organization.
California has established a public-private partnership through the California SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing Initiative called COVIDNet to provide the state with genomic sequencing to help understand and control the spread of COVID-19. This effort will help detect the variant early in California.
CDPH is in communication with federal officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to gather information and expertise to help the public, local public health departments and health care providers.
Travelers who have been in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe within the last 14 days must follow CDC recommendations to get tested 3-5 days after arrival, quarantine for 7 days even if testing negative, and isolate for 10 days if COVID-19 symptoms develop.
For more information, see the Omicron variant fact sheet.