By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two more cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been discovered in Los Angeles County, bringing the total confirmed number of cases to three.

An international passenger arrives near a new rapid COVID-19 testing site for arriving international passengers at LAX on Dec. 3, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

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The second case was discovered with a USC student who returned after traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday to the East Coast, according to the Daily Trojan and the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The patient has mild symptoms and is fully vaccinated, DPH said.

“The case was detected as part of USC’s routine testing and surveillance program; all campus close contacts have been identified, notified and are being tested,” a statement from Dr. Sarah Von Orman, the chief health officer of USC Student Health, said. “The individual did not attend classes or organized activities on campus during their infectious period.”

The third case was confirmed in an individual who recently returned from traveling in West Africa. The individual, who is fully vaccinated, had mild symptoms and all known close contacts are fully vaccinated and have tested negative. He is self isolating.

“This latest case of the Omicron variant in L.A. County underscores how critical safety measures are while traveling,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of L.A. County Public Health. “These requirements include a negative test before boarding your flight, wearing a mask, and not traveling while you are sick.”

USC students told CBSLA say that news of an Omicron case on campus isn’t good, but after almost two years of living with the threat of COVID-19, they know the drill.

“I think it hit L.A. much quicker than I anticipated,” USC graduate student Alex Ajlouni said. “All we can do on an individual level is just stay six feet apart, wear our masks, just do our due diligence.”

Orman confirmed that the student tested positive in the school’s weekly required testing and is doing well in isolation.

That’s a message still meeting resistance in some groups, including the L.A. Fire Department, which just released new vaccine numbers — 83% of the department’s workers are vaccinated, but 113 employees have been removed from duty without pay for failing to meet the city’s vaccine mandate.

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A department spokeswoman told CBSLA’s Laurie Perez that they’ve started the termination process, and unless those workers comply by Dec. 18, they’ll lose their jobs.

LAFD is not the only public department managing mandate issues. New numbers show 28% of L.A. County Metropolitan Transit employees have failed to show proof of vaccination. Even more concerning, Metro figures show the compliance rate is even lower when you look specifically at bus and train operators, who interact with the public. Metro workers who don’t get on board could lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, Ferrer advised residents to get vaccinated or receive their boosters as the holiday season approaches. They also asked residents who are traveling for the holidays to get tested, but also said residents should consider delaying their travel plans.

“Residents should also consider delaying travel until their and all of their traveling companions are fully vaccinated,” Ferrer said.

L.A. County’s first Omicron case was reported Dec. 2. That patient, who was also fully vaccinated, had returned from a trip to South Africa via London on Nov. 22.

The first ever U.S. case of Omicron was detected in Northern California on Dec. 1 in a traveler who had also returned from South Africa on Nov. 22.

The Omicron variant was first reported in South Africa on Nov. 24. Although not much is known about its transmissibility or severity, there is concern because it has a high number of mutations.

This has prompted the World Health Organization to designate it a “variant of concern.”

Last week, in response to the Omicron variant, the Biden administration announced that all international travelers coming into the U.S., including American citizens, will have to undergo COVID testing one day before their flight.

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The White House also banned international travelers from eight countries in Southern Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.