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USC student, overseas traveler are L.A. County’s 2nd and 3rd Omicron cases

A COVID-19 testing site at LAX
Arriving travelers line up to get a free COVID-19 rapid test at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Officials reported Los Angeles County’s second and third confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus Monday: a USC student who had recently returned from the East Coast and someone who traveled from western Africa.

Both the USC student, who officials said had been traveling for the holidays, and the traveler who came from western Africa were fully vaccinated and had mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Close contacts who have been identified for the student are quarantining and being tested for infection, according to the county Department of Public Health. The student probably acquired the infection outside L.A. County.

Close contacts for the traveler from western Africa have been vaccinated and tested negative.

USC officials said Monday afternoon that the student “is currently isolating and doing well.”

“The case was detected as part of USC’s routine surveillance testing program. All campus close contacts have been identified, were notified and are in quarantine,” officials said in a statement. “The individual did not attend classes or organized activities on campus during their infectious period.”

Students have one more day to file UC applications and CSU extensions vary by campus after computer systems crash.

The latest report comes four days after L.A. County confirmed its first case of the highly mutated strain. Officials said that infection was likely also travel-related, as the person had returned to L.A. after flying to South Africa via London on Nov. 22.

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Additional Omicron cases have been documented in San Francisco and in Alameda County.

“While we are still determining the transmissibility and the severity of Omicron, I encourage residents and travelers to take additional steps to protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated or boosters, tested if you feel sick or are a close contact, and wearing your mask,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Layering on as many protections as possible will give us a better opportunity to slow the spread of this potentially dangerous variant as we prepare for holiday gatherings and a potential winter surge.”


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