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Five East Bay omicron cases tied to Wisconsin wedding

Built in the Bay
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(ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif.) East Bay public health officials detected at least five cases of the omicron strain of COVID-19 originating from a Wisconsin wedding last weekend.

In a statement released Friday, the cases were described as "mildly symptomatic." One of the infected individuals, who range in age from 18 to 49, is a Berkeley resident and the other 11 are Alameda County residents.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, all the infected individuals were vaccinated and a majority had received their booster shot.

“It’s not surprising we’re turning up a lot of cases now because we’re aggressively looking for them,” John Swartzberg, an infectious disease specialist with UC Berkeley, told the Chronicle. “It’s very likely cases have been circulating here for a while.”

Health officials are unclear how the variant will affect heavily vaccinated regions like the Bay Area. There is still relatively little information about the sustained transmission of this variant or the effectiveness of vaccinations and boosters against it.

Thus far, public health officials have reiterated that caution is critical to preventing the spread but residents are wary this could lead to another lockdown.

The first inkling of this new variant came on Nov. 24 when South Africa first alerted the world about a sharp spike in cases.

Last Wednesday, scientists in California reported the first domestic case of omicron. The next day, cases popped up in Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and New York.

It's unclear how this will affect holiday plans around the country but health officials, locally and across the country are bracing for a case spike after the holiday season.

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