SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As of Sunday, the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has still not made its way to California. In fact, there are currently no cases in the United States.

Nevertheless, based on previous varieties, Omicron’s detection in the United States is simply a matter of time.

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As long as there are huge populations of unvaccinated people, new varieties will emerge.

However, officials are doubling down on vaccination and booster shot efforts in anticipation of its arrival.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued the following statement:

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“California is closely monitoring the new Omicron variant, which has not yet arrived in California or the U.S. Vaccines continue to be our best way through the pandemic by safely protecting us against severe illness from COVID-19 and its variants. We are doubling down on our vaccination and booster efforts to ensure that all Californians have access to safe, effective, and free vaccines that can prevent serious illness and death.”

The Omicron variant, which originated in South Africa, contains several mutations in key regions of the virus that affect infectiousness and the immune system’s ability to guard against infection.

Scientists are concerned about some of the mutations because they are distinct from other variants already discovered, while others are comparable.

At this point, we don’t know whether this novel variant causes more severe COVID-19 sickness than other variants or how it would be affected by the current vaccinations.

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The CDPH has provided a fact sheet detailing what they currently know about the Omicron variant. It can be found here.