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First Omicron Case Identified in Imperial County

EL CENTRO — The first case of the omicron variant has been confirmed in Imperial County, according to a press release issued by the Imperial County Public Health Department.

No additional information is available related to the individual case since testing for variants among positive cases is completed for surveillance purposes only.

“What we know is that new variants will continue to evolve as long as there are large proportions of unvaccinated people. This is a reminder that we need to continue taking all the necessary precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” stated Dr. Stephen Munday, Imperial County’s health officer. “Since Omicron is the primary variant circulating in the nation, and it has been the most contagious variant yet seen, we knew it was a matter of time before it was detected in Imperial County and for that reason, we have been urging all eligible individuals to get vaccinated.

“Boosters are especially encouraged for all individuals that are eligible to receive a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Munday added.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced new booster requirements and testing measures to better protect all Californians as the omicron variant becomes the dominant COVID-19 strain in the nation. The COVID-19 booster requirement for healthcare workers will mitigate potential staffing shortages while helping to safeguard the state’s hospital capacity and protect the health and safety of Californians.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, the California Department of Public Health announced that the indoor masking order would be extended until Feb. 15. The county health order related to indoor masking is currently being updated and will be posted once it is finalized.

There are specific actions that can be taken by individuals to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including the highly contagious omicron variant.

  • Get Vaccinated: All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in California are safe and effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. Vaccination will protect you and those you love. Individuals ages 5 and older are now eligible for vaccination. Additionally, those over the age of 18 who are at least six months since last does of Pfizer or Moderna, or at least two months since J&J, are eligible for a booster. To get vaccinated or get a booster call 833-422-4255 or visit the My Turn website.
  • Wear Masks: There is currently an indoor masking order in place in Imperial County.Masks are required in indoor public places for everyone. Wear a mask in indoor public places (such as grocery stores and movie theaters) regardless of vaccination status. More restrictive local and workplace rules may apply. Everyone must wear a mask on public transit (airports, planes, trains, buses, stations) and in healthcare settings, K-12 schools, childcare settings, correctional facilities, cooling centers, and shelters. Learn more about our masking recommendations.
  • Get Tested: You should immediately get tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling any symptoms – regardless of your vaccination status. COVID-19 symptoms can feel like a common cold (including just “the sniffles”), seasonal allergies, or flu. COVID-19 testing in California is free to anyone who needs it. You can book a free test appointment, find a walk-in test clinic, or buy a self-test kit from your local drugstore. Find a testing site online or call 833-422-4255 or 211. Learn more about COVID-19 tests.  Currently appointments are required for COVID-19 testing through OptumServe.  Individuals may visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting to schedule an appointment. 
  • Stay Home if Sick: Stay home if you are feeling sick. See a doctor if your symptoms worsen.