Omicron variant COVID-19
FILE PHOTO: A sign advertises COVID-19 testing ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday at Logan International Airport in Boston, Nov. 22, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive-care admissions in San Diego County continued to rise, as President Joe Biden prepares to discuss the new coronavirus variant in public.

According to state data reported Sunday, 287 patients are in the hospital for COVID-19 treatment in San Diego County, an increase of 18. Three more required intensive care, for a total of 85 in local ICUs.

Meanwhile, the top U.S. infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told President Joe Biden on Sunday it will take about two weeks to have definitive information on the Omicron variant that already has sparked travel restrictions and shaken financial markets.

Biden, returning to Washington following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, was briefed in person by his coronavirus response team Sunday afternoon as officials expect the new variant to reach the U.S. despite an impending ban on travelers from South Africa, where it was first detected.

Biden was due to update the public on the new variant and the U.S. response on Monday, the White House said.

Other U.S. officials also sought more information about the new variant. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra – the former California attorney general – spoke to South Africa Health Minister Joe Phaahla Sunday, praising the country’s transparency, according to a readout of the meeting.

Reuters contributed to this report.