5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, Dec. 2

1st confirmed omicron patient in U.S. is quarantining

Here are things to know for Thursday, Dec. 2:

1. Official: 1st US case of COVID-19 omicron variant identified

A person in California who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 became the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the omicron variant, the White House announced Wednesday as scientists continue to study the risks posed by the new virus strain.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters the person was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29. Fauci said the person was vaccinated but had not received a booster shot and was experiencing “mild symptoms.”

The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from Southern Africa where the variant was first identified and had been widespread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations.

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2. US moving to toughen testing requirement for travelers

The Biden administration is moving to toughen testing requirements for international travelers to the U.S., including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, amid the spread of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Tuesday statement that it was working toward requiring that all air travelers to the U.S. be tested for COVID-19 within a day before boarding their flight. Currently those who are fully vaccinated may present a test taken within three days of boarding.

“CDC is working to modify the current Global Testing Order for travel as we learn more about the Omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States,” the agency said.

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3. KPRC 2 Investigates: Sexual harassment claims at Houston Airports System went nowhere, says former employee

Unwanted advances, unwelcome comments, and the report to Houston Airports System leadership went unanswered, according to a former employee who has now taken his claims of sexual harassment to the city’s Office of the Inspector General.

The former employee filed the complaint in September, accusing a program director of making comments about his appearances, kissing his cheek, and revealing intimate fantasies involving him.

“He was on eggshells all of the time,” said Steve Kardell, a Dallas-based attorney who specializes in employment and whistleblower cases.

Kardell represents the former employee, who KPRC 2 is not identifying because he claims to be a victim of sexual harassment.

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4. ‘Things seem to escalate more quickly now’: Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez aims to tackle road rage

Unwanted advances, unwelcome comments, and the report to Houston Airports System leadership went unanswered, according to a former employee who has now taken his claims of sexual harassment to the city’s Office of the Inspector General.

The former employee filed the complaint in September, accusing a program director of making comments about his appearances, kissing his cheek, and revealing intimate fantasies involving him.

“He was on eggshells all of the time,” said Steve Kardell, a Dallas-based attorney who specializes in employment and whistleblower cases.

Kardell represents the former employee, who KPRC 2 is not identifying because he claims to be a victim of sexual harassment.

Read more.

5. Texans cancel practice with players not feeling well

The Houston Texans canceled practice and all other in-person activities Wednesday on the advice of their medical team because some players weren’t feeling well. Coach David Culley said they have not had any positive COVID-19 tests.

Culley, speaking to reporters via Zoom, said that the team would resume normal operations Thursday.

“We’ve got a few players that are under the weather right now, a little sick, and our medical team just felt like that it’d be best for us for precautionary reasons just to keep them home, and then we’ll be back to business as usual (Thursday),” Culley said.

Players were told to stay home Wednesday and all team meetings were to be held virtually.

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