DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– A person in California is the first in the U.S. to have an identified COVID-19 case of the omicron variant. Miami Valley health leaders expect that more cases will be found but are worried that if precautions aren’t taken, it could impact Christmas celebrations.

COVID-19 cases in the Miami Valley have continued to increase after the Thanksgiving weekend. If this trend continues, some health leaders say Christmas may have to look similar to last year.

“It will not be a surprise if it spreads quite thoroughly throughout the country,” said Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County Public Information Officer Dan Suffoletto.

No omicron cases have been recorded in Ohio, but health leaders say they do expect more cases to be found due to holiday travel. Clark County is averaging 288 cases per 100,000, a significantly higher average than weeks before. Officials say they’re expecting that number to increase due to Thanksgiving gatherings.

“Whether we’re dealing with a new variant or not, we’re starting to see additional cases that we’ve tied back to Thanksgiving,” said CCCHD Health Commissioner Charles Patterson. “The number of cases have continued to rise in Clark County for the fourth straight week now.”

Officials say symptoms for all known variants are pretty similar so it’s better to get tested right away.

“They thought it was just a sinus infection, that’s a really common way that people are describing it to us in the early stages which is exactly how it was described in South Africa for the physician treating those cases there,” said Patterson.

However, Public Health says they expect more variants to be found.

“The fact that there’s a variant is nothing new, it’s expected, there’s already been numerous variants through the course of COVID and there will be more,” said Suffoletto.

At this time, both Patterson and Suffoletto are recommending more people start the vaccination process, and if you’ve done so to sign up for a booster dose.