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'It spreads faster' | 6 cases of Omicron variant confirmed in San Diego County

Doctors warn the Omicron variant spreads easily and has milder symptoms for vaccinated patients.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Christmas is a little over a week away and as family and friends gather, doctors warn the Omicron variant could be your unwanted guest.

San Diego County health officials say while the Delta variant remains dominant in our area right now, there are four more local cases of the Omicron variant, bringing our local total to six.

Doctors warn omicron could soon be our dominant variant.

"Two weeks ago, we had the first community acquired case of omicron so that means we're going to start seeing it spread across the county and across the country," said Argentina Servin, who is an assistant professor of infectious diseases and public health at UC San Diego.

Servin says the best way to get and stay protected is by doing something you've probably heard before, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask, even though that may not stop you from contracting the virus.

"It spreads faster but it seems to be less aggressive,” said Servin. “Again, that doesn't mean that you don't need to get your vaccine, the individuals that we've seen with these cases are fully vaccinated. The cases that were detected here locally did not require hospitalization and were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms."

Now that California has reinstated the mask mandate indoors again this year, coupled with the rise in the new Omicron variant in our area, some San Diegans are getting frustrated.

Russell, a local maintenance worker replied when asked about the new mandate,

"Come on,” said Russell. “How long am I going to do this? 2 years? 3 years? 10?"

Yet others agree getting vaccinated and wearing a mask is the best way to protect yourself and others.

"(With my mask) I can avoid colds,” said Sharon Claussen. “I can avoid the flu and the big bad guy, you know, the COVID,"

Servin also says since San Diego counties vaccination rate is nearly 80%, Omicron cases in our area may go undetected.

She says this applies to folks with little to no symptoms and those who recently traveled for the holiday.

"When in doubt, get tested," said Servin. "For this time, we have to maybe not be as selfish and think of others and try to follow this so we can get through this,"

Servin concluded by mentioning that San Diegans are lucky to have access to readily available vaccines and tests as there are reports of vaccine inequity across the globe.

WATCH RELATED: Man in 30s, vaccinated and boostered, is 2nd San Diego omicron variant case (December 2021)

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