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5 in California positive test for omicron variant; marriage-related cases in Wisconsin

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At least five people in northern California have tested positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the outbreak is linked to a wedding in Wisconsin last month, public health officials said Friday.

The spread was announced just two days after the first confirmed US case of the omicron variant was identified in California. The second confirmed case was reported in Minnesota.

It remains largely unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious than previous types, whether it makes people sicker, and whether it may block the vaccine.

The five people who have confirmed omicron cases are part of a group of 12 people vaccinated in Alameda County who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Alameda County Department of Public Health. They are linked to a Nov. 27 wedding in Milwaukee County, which one of these individuals attended after returning from international travel, the agency said.

“People have been vaccinated and have mild symptomatic cases.” The genomic sequence for the remaining seven cases has not yet been completed. Officials said “most” of the 12 people had received the booster; they are between 18 and 49 years old.

Public health officials did not say where or when the person traveled abroad.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued a statement late Friday saying state and local officials are actively contacting all Wisconsin residents who were in close contact and isolation and quarantine protocols are being followed.

The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from South Africa, where the variant was first identified and widespread. Case groups have also been identified in about two dozen other nations.

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