The person was not hospitalized and has been self-quarantining since testing positive. All of their close contacts have tested negative, public health officials said.
During a briefing outside of San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday morning, health department Director Dr. Grant Colfax said the city worked overnight with the CDC and the University of California, San Francisco to confirm whether the case was indeed the omicron variant.
Colfax said the city has been preparing for a scenario like this.
"This is not a surprise," he said. "We knew that omicron was going to be here. We thought it was already here, but we just hadn't detected it yet. This is a cause for concern, but it's certainly not a cause to panic."
Colfax said, "There's still a lot we don't know about omicron. We don't know how infectious it is, although there is a strong likelihood that it is more infectious than the delta (variant)."
Colfax said because the city's vaccine rate is high at 81%, and residents continue getting booster shots, among other factors, the city is equipped to handle COVID-19 variants.
"At this time, we do not anticipate changing any of our health orders or changing any current restrictions or imposing new restrictions on activities in San Francisco," he said. "We're obviously following these developments very closely. We'll share additional information as we have it."
Just last week, the World Health Organization classified the omicron variant as a "variant of concern" for COVID-19.
Dr. Charles Chiu with UCSF said of the case, "This particular sample, I heard about it yesterday at 3 p.m. and we were able to receive the sample in the laboratory by 8 p.m."
After running tests, Chiu said two hours later the sample was identified as potentially being omicron. Then, using genomic sequencing technology, UCSF officials confirmed the sample to be omicron around 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to Chiu.
"The overall message to the public is get vaccinated," Mayor London Breed said.
"Very much thank you to the individual themselves. They recognized they had traveled, they recognized that they had symptoms, and they did what we should all do, which is get tested," said SFDPH Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip. "We really appreciate that person's awareness and collaboration on this case."
Drop-ins no longer allowed at county booster shot clinics
High demand for COVID-19 booster shots has prompted San Mateo County to require appointments for those 12 and over getting shots at the county-operated vaccine clinic at the San Mateo County Event Center.
Appointments were previously encouraged, but onsite registration was allowed. As of Wednesday, Dec. 1, walk-ups will be turned away. Appointments are available through the state vaccination registration site, at myturn.ca.gov.
First and second vaccine doses are available at the drive-through clinic, as well as boosters for people 18 and older. Even with an appointment, attendees should expect to wait. Boosters are also available at community clinics, health care providers and pharmacies, many of which do not require an appointment. A schedule of county-operated clinics can be found at smchealth.org/vaccine-clinic-calendar.
Pediatric vaccines for ages 5-11 are still available at the children's clinic, also located at the event center. Appointments through MyTurn are strongly encouraged but pediatric walk-ins are accepted.
The San Mateo County Event Center is at 1346 Saratoga Drive in San Mateo.
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