Researcher with blood sample of New Variant of the Covid-19 Omicron B.1.1.529 and generic data of covid-19 Coronavirus Mutations. Doctor in analysis lab holding sample of new strain of covid Omicron

Building Service Contractors (BSCs) and facility cleaning managers that are formulating COVID-19 protocols and/or encouraging frontline staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19 have another variant of the virus to be aware of in those efforts.

The California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health have confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 among an individual in California was caused by the Omicron variant. The individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021. The individual had mild symptoms that are improving, is self-quarantining and has been since testing positive. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative.

Genomic sequencing was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and the sequence was confirmed at CDC as being consistent with the Omicron variant. This will be the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States.

On Nov. 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the new variant as a Variant of Concern and named it Omicron and on Nov. 30, 2021. The United States also classified it as a Variant of Concern. CDC has been actively monitoring and preparing for this variant, and we will continue to work diligently with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more. Despite the detection of Omicron, Delta remains the predominant strain in the United States.

While information is still being collected on the new variant, World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over mutations causing those who have already contracted COVID-19 being especially susceptible, along with current vaccines being less effective against Omicron compared to previous variants. Read more on the ongoing developments here