Omicron variant confirmed in the US & 6 more COVID-19 updates

California officials confirmed that a recent case of COVID-19 was caused by the omicron coronavirus variant — the first known case detected in the U.S. The individual returned from South Africa Nov. 22.

Six more COVID-19 updates from the last week:

1. Amid rising concern over the new COVID-19 variant, omicron, the U.S. is tightening borders and limiting travel from eight countries — including South Africa, where the variant was first detected. The variant has spread to at least 19 countries. 

2. The CDC expanded its official COVID-19 vaccine booster recommendations Nov. 29, now including all American adults. Americans 18 years or older should get a booster shot six months after completing the initial immunization series with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two months after the Johnson & Johnson shot.

3. Federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions Nov. 30 to halt the start of COVID-19 vaccination mandates for millions of workers across the U.S. 

4. New Hampshire is seeing the highest average rate of daily COVID-19 cases per capita in the nation. As of Nov. 30, New Hampshire reported 70 daily virus cases per 100,000 people, compared to Michigan reporting 68 daily cases per capita. Previously, Michigan had the highest case rates per capita.

5. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached an all-time high in Maine, Michigan and Vermont this week. Read more here

6. Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare is pausing its COVID-19 vaccination mandate amid recent federal court decisions, except for states in which it operates that have their own mandates.

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