How San Francisco confirmed Omicron’s first US case so quickly

The UCSF lab analyzing positive coronavirus test results is a big reason behind the rapid identification of the Omicron variant in California, First documented case in the United States of America.

The lab run by Dr. Charles Chiu, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, routinely analyzes positive coronavirus cases in San Francisco for genetic sequencing to identify a variant.

Chiu said he first heard about the positive case at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The moderately ill San Francisco resident, who returned home on November 22 from a trip to South Africa, developed symptoms on or near Thanksgiving and took a coronavirus test on Sunday, and on Monday, results came back positive from another lab.

Qiu’s lab received a sample of the detected coronavirus by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Scientists conducted a rapid molecular test, which yielded results within two hours that were suggestive, but not conclusive, that the coronavirus that infected the resident was Variable Omicron.

“To confirm this finding, we needed to sequence the genome — the viral genome — of this virus,” Chiu said. By 4 a.m. on Wednesday, scientists had collected most of the genome and “we were able to prove conclusively that this was indeed an infection from the Omicron variant.”

The sequence was also confirmed to be compatible with the Omicron variant at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor for the pandemic.

The lab sample was sent to UCSF from Color Health, a Burlingame, California-based company partnering with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to provide coronavirus testing services.

Almost all positive coronavirus test results identified in San Francisco are conducted by Color Health directed to genetic sequencing To identify the variant, said Scott Tupper, vice president of clinical operations at Color Health.

San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip said rapid identification of the Omicron variant would not have been possible without UCSF and Color Health, as well as the resident who decided to get tested for the coronavirus, acknowledging that recent travel to South Africa had mild symptoms of illness. Reason for taking the test.

The resident was at his home in San Francisco for two days before South African scientists made the discovery of the worrying new variant. South Africa announced that she had discovered The variant – tentatively named B.1.1.529 – on November 24.

Two days later, the World Health Organization announced that it is a ‘The worrying alternative’ And the designation of its name by the Greek letter, Omicron.

San Francisco residents “realized they had traveled recently; they realized they had symptoms; and they did what we should all do — go and get tested,” Phillip said.

The person then contacted the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The person was staying at home, in isolation, and health officials are in the process of discovering people who may have had close contact with the resident. Close contact is defined as a person who has been within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or more.

“This person was aware of the Omicron news, which is why they communicated appropriately after returning from travel and then got their positive test result through the color lab,” Philip said. We “really appreciate this person’s awareness and cooperation in this case.”

Authorities said the resident was identified only by age – between 18 and 49 – and was fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine but did not receive a booster dose. Officials said the patient was in good health before the infection, and had mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization.

Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health, said the person has since recovered.

Fauci said close contacts with the resident so far have been negative.

The California Department of Public Health says that “everyone should get tested for COVID-19 immediately if you feel any symptoms — regardless of your vaccination status. Symptoms of COVID-19 can look like a common cold (including only the common cold) or Seasonal allergies or the flu. A COVID-19 test in California is free for anyone who needs it. Book a free test appointment, find a testing clinic, or purchase a self-test kit at your local pharmacy.”

State health officials are also advising everyone to wear masks in indoor public places, such as grocery stores and movie theaters, regardless of vaccination status, and for everyone 5 years of age or older to get vaccinated. Some counties in California require masks to be worn in indoor public places, including most counties in San Francisco Bay Area Beside Angels and Ventura counties.

Health officials say adults who are already fully vaccinated should get a booster dose. Those who received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna shots at least six months prior or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months prior are eligible for a booster dose.

Demand for booster injections is increasing in some parts of California. The county just south of San Francisco, San Mateo County, recently reported that the demand for the booster shots is so high that officials are no longer allowing vaccinations at the county-operated vaccination site at the San Mateo County Event Center and will now require appointments.

Booster shots are also in high demand in Marin County. some pharmacies They have run out of doses in recent days and are working to replenish supplies, KGO-TV recently reported.

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