A nurse wearing personal protective equipment. Photo courtesy County News Center

The first U.S. case of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 was confirmed in San Francisco Wednesday, and San Diego County public health officials encouraged people to continue to follow existing pandemic guidance.

“There’s a lot about Omicron we don’t know yet, such as how it spreads, how sick it can make people and how well existing vaccines work against it,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer.

“In the meantime, the same precautions we’ve been advising for other strains of COVID-19 should help prevent or lessen the likelihood of people getting and spreading the Omicron variant, as well as the Delta, which is still the dominant strain,” Kaiser added.

There are still no confirmed cases of Omicron in Southern California, but the county and the local medical community are monitoring for the variant using genome sequencing.

San Diego County public health officials reported 622 new COVID-19 infections and six additional deaths associated with the virus on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s data increases the county’s cumulative coronavirus totals to 385,396 infections and 4,346 fatalities since the pandemic began.

The number of COVID patients hospitalized in San Diego County decreased from 295 on Tuesday to 292, according to the latest state figures. Of those patients, 84 were in intensive care, a decrease of two from Tuesday.

A total of 20,172 tests were reported to the county on Wednesday, with 3.1% returning positive.

The number of county residents who have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine is now nearly 2.66 million — or 84.7% of residents age 5 and older.

More than 2.36 million people, or 75.1% of residents 5 and older, are fully vaccinated. Roughly 460,110 San Diego County residents 18 years of age or older have received a booster dose.

A list of vaccination locations and more information is available at coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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