Omicron variant of the coronavirus: What you should know

The Concordia Courier

The Moon International Center is open to all students and encourages international students to commune.

By Pelin Li | 12/10/2021

According to a recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the emergence of the omicron variant, the infection and spread of omicron has officially begun in the United States. The variant was first reported in mid-November and the World Health Organization listed omicron as a "variant of concern." Among 50 states, 19 of them already have confirmed cases as of this past Monday. California is one of the states to have its first confirmed case last Friday.

According to Associate Dean of Student Wellness Michelle Laabs, “I got an email update saying that we have our first confirmed case in L.A. County.” 

Interestingly, the testing for variants, such as delta and omicron, is limited. Only a sample number of patients’ tests are sent in for sequencing to look for specific variants. “Maybe ten percent of the test sequences are looking for different strands, and in most cases they just test to see if you are positive or not,” Labbs explained, “It is very hard to look for specific genetic material in viruses during mass testing.”

The Wellness Center follows the CDC masking mandate, which does not require wearing a mask at the current stage. Laabs and fellow Concordia leaders stay up-to-date on the virus and post campus-specific news at 

Traveling abroad over break? You may need to take extra steps to plan your trip. The Moon International Center at Concordia recently sent out new travel regulations regarding COVID. 

International Center Coordinator, Alexander G. Lange, said, “I would say it seems like news of the new variant has led to an increased number of students deciding to wear masks in our office. We are also doing our best to send out the most up-to-date information regarding CDC travel guidelines to our students since many may be planning to travel over Christmas break. So we really consider our office to be a conduit for passing along information.”

The Wellness Center at Concordia provides many resources for students, including student athletes who are traveling. “Omicron is not a different fight compared to other COVID variants,” said Laabs, “We offer surveillance testing. You could also pick up testing kits here at the front desk without appointment if you have no symptoms. If you have symptoms, you can also make an appointment for our rapid tests. We also have some other testing options available.”

For more information, please contact the Wellness Center Administrative Assistant, Lorie Ferrer at and Moon International Center Coordinator, Alexander G. Lange at

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