Nov 30, 2021 - COVID

Philadelphia monitors new Omicron variant

Illustration of a security camera focused on several virus molecules.
Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, has not been detected in Philadelphia as of Monday, a city health department spokesperson told Axios.

Driving the news: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is monitoring the variant and working with federal health officials to learn more about what to expect, spokesperson James Garrow said.

The big picture: President Biden said on Monday that Omicron is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

  • Much remains unknown about the new variant, including how transmissible it is and how effective vaccines are against it, according to the World Health Organization.
  • But Omicron will "inevitably" be found in the U.S., Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this weekend.

Zoom in: While the city is not issuing any new COVID restrictions over Omicron, Garrow said there is "still a real and present threat" to Philadelphians as local cases of the Delta variant are now rising.

  • "It's smart for people to keep an eye out for updates on Omicron, but to take precautions against the Delta variant," he said.

Of note: The Philadelphia School District is not considering any changes to its COVID protocols due to Omicron at this point, district spokesperson Monica Lewis said.

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