CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The first case of the new Covid-19 variant “Omicron” has been detected in the United States, and now our nations top leaders and state health officials are working to prevent another surge.

“We’re learning more every single day. We’ll fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion,” says President Biden.

The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, from someone who recently returned from South Africa.

“This is the first confirmed case of Covid-19 caused by the Omicron variant detected in the United States,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor for the President of the United States.

President Biden says the best protection against the new variant is vaccinations and booster shots.

“Right now, about 135 million American’s are eligible for a booster, but only about 40 million have gotten one thus far,” says President Biden.

Here in South Carolina, state health officials are constantly testing for the new variant and the Department of Health and Environmental Control says they are sequencing daily to monitor whether it is here in our state.

“I don’t know that it is already in the Carolina’s, but I think that at least in South Carolina we have a robust testing program and sequencing program,” says Dr. Brannon Traxler, Director of Public Health with DHEC.

Health officials say it could take weeks before we know if the variant is here in South Carolina, but the steps we have taken since the beginning to protect from Covid-19 spread are still the best lines of defense for when it does arrive.

“The actions you can take to protect yourself and protect others around you remains the same. Vaccinations, masks, testing and physical distancing are key,” says Dr. Traxler.

According to DHEC the Delta variant remains the most prominent strain in the state.