Simply hours earlier than the primary case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was confirmed within the county, the county well being director on Thursday introduced plans for a speedy check website at Los Angeles Worldwide Airport that may provide free – however voluntary – COVID testing for incoming worldwide flights will provide passengers.
“We will likely be speaking the necessity for worldwide vacationers to stick to federal quarantine and testing tips, and naturally, all vacationers who check constructive might want to isolate and quarantine their shut contacts,” County mentioned the director for public well being, Barbara Ferrer, throughout a media briefing on Thursday afternoon.
The COVID testing at Tom Bradley Worldwide Terminal, which begins Friday, is obtainable on a voluntary foundation solely as there is no such thing as a federal requirement for incoming passengers to be examined.
“The federal authorities strongly recommends that individuals get examined,” mentioned Ferrer. “We’re additionally going to have our well being employees on the market to speak to folks and ensure they perceive the significance of assessments. We’re utilizing a speedy antigen check there so folks can get their outcomes earlier than they go away the airport.
“I believe that additionally offers them assurance that they know they’ll collect with the folks they needed to congregate with and get to their closing vacation spot with some certainty,” she mentioned. Come on over and let your self be check and they’re adverse. We’ll ship them a check equipment house in order that they’ll check once more three to 5 days later. ”
At round 5:30 pm on Thursday, the county confirmed the primary native case of the Omicron variant, recognized as a “variant of concern” by the World Well being Group final week and this week by the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
The primary case was found in a traveler who returned from South Africa absolutely vaccinated however and not using a booster. The announcement got here as US officers have been planning more durable COVID journey necessities. Toni Guinyard will report for NBCLA on December 1, 2021.
The variant was first found in South Africa, the place it has been blamed for a speedy surge in infections, and has now unfold to round three dozen nations, together with the USA, the place the primary case was confirmed in San Francisco on Wednesday. Different circumstances have been additionally present in Minnesota and Colorado.
The native Omicron affected person, confirmed late Thursday afternoon, is a Los Angeles County resident who returned to the realm on Nov. 22 after touring to South Africa by way of London. The an infection was categorized as “probably associated to journey”. The unidentified affected person is absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 and has signs which can be enhancing, well being officers mentioned. The individual’s shut contacts all examined adverse for the virus.
It’s nonetheless unclear whether or not the Omicron variant is extra extremely transmissible than different types of the virus, or whether or not it causes extra severe sicknesses or can evade the safety of present vaccines. However its speedy unfold in South Africa has sounded the alarm, particularly forward of the winter trip season and accompanying journeys and gatherings.
Ferrer mentioned the thought at LAX is to supply testing for arriving passengers, not departing passengers, who might face completely different testing necessities relying on their vacation spot.
“What we’re actually making an attempt to do right here is to forestall individuals who have traveled from returning to our communities – visiting family members, returning house to their final targets the place they could be constructive. “she mentioned.” We need to choose them up rapidly and get them examined rapidly.
Ferrer once more urged folks to get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 or get a booster shot if they’re eligible. She mentioned the vaccines, when mixed with different protecting measures like sporting masks, present sturdy safety in opposition to an infection and severe sickness.
In accordance with the county’s newest numbers, of the greater than 6.1 million absolutely vaccinated folks within the county, 80,445 examined constructive, or about 1.32%. A complete of two,680 vaccinated folks have been hospitalized at a price of 0.044%, and 503 have died, a price of 0.008%.
Thus far, 83% of the district residents aged 12 and over have obtained a minimum of one dose and 74% are absolutely vaccinated. Of all eligible residents aged 5 and over, 76% have obtained a minimum of one dose and 68% are absolutely vaccinated.
Black residents nonetheless have the bottom vaccination price, with solely 55% receiving a minimum of one dose. The speed is 60% amongst Latinx residents, 73% amongst white residents, and 82% amongst Asians.
The county reported a further 24 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the entire dying toll to 25,786.
One other 1,970 circumstances have been reported, bringing the county a complete of 1,530,526 pandemics. The shifting common day by day price of people that examined constructive for the virus was 1.3% on Thursday.
In accordance with the state, 569 folks with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Los Angeles County on Thursday, up from 574 on Wednesday. The variety of these sufferers within the intensive care unit was 152, up from 158 the day earlier than.