The San Joaquin County Public Health Service confirmed the first two cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in San Joaquin County.

In a news release issued Monday, the health department reported that genomic sequencing of positive COVID-19 tests confirmed the Omicron variant in two individuals. The county reported that they had been fully vaccinated but did not have a booster. Their city of residence and other details about the individuals were not released.

The first case of the Omicron variant in the United States was detected on Dec. 1 in California. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but just how easily Omicron spreads compared to the Delta variant remains unknown. The CDC expects that anyone with an Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

In a written statement Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County public health officer, emphasized the importance of vaccinations in the fight to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

“With its fast transmission rates, we anticipated the Omicron variant appearing locally,” Park said. “That’s why we continue to encourage anyone who’s eligible to get vaccinated and get a booster -- especially as people consider gathering for New Year’s. As we start 2022, let’s do our best to protect ourselves and those around us through testing and vaccination.”

The California Department of Public Health said clinical and wastewater data indicate Omicron cases are present in most regions of the state indicating there is likely community transmission. At least three health systems in California have stated that between 50% and 70% of their COVID-19 cases are consistent with the Omicron variant, with the CDC reporting it as at least 70% of the national cases.

As of Monday, the state health department reports that California has 5,076,650 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic nearly 2 years ago, and the daily average is now 8,686 cases, 25.3 new cases per 100,000 people.

There are currently 4,747 COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide with 1,071 patients in the intensive care unit and a daily average of 46 deaths, 0.1 new deaths per 100,000 people.

• Contact the Tracy Press at or 835-3030.

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