2 cases of omicron variant now linked to Georgia, officials say

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 7:49 AM EST
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ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed the first in-state case of COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant of coronavirus.

The case, reported Sunday, is the first identified in-state case of omicron.

It comes after the agency was notified Friday of a Georgia resident currently in New Jersey who tested positive for the omicron variant. That person recently traveled from South Africa and was in Georgia for two days before traveling on to New Jersey, where the testing was done and where that patient is in isolation.

In the latest case, the individual recently traveled from South Africa and developed mild symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

Genetic tests of the virus confirmed it was the omicron variant.

The patient is isolating at home and contact tracing is underway to identify close contacts at risk of infection.

Scientists continue to study the omicron variant to determine how quickly and easily it spreads, whether it causes more severe illness and how well the current COVID vaccines protect against it.

“Vaccination is key to preventing further transmission of COVID-19 and helps prevent new variants like omicron from emerging,” said Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “It also is important to remember that even as omicron is emerging, we are still in the midst of a pandemic currently being fueled by the delta variant.”

All Georgians over the age of 5 are now eligible for COVID vaccination. Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for adults 18 and older who completed their first series of vaccine at least six months ago. The CDC also recommends general prevention measures such as wearing a mask in public settings, staying 6 feet from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and frequently washing your hands to protect against COVID-19.

Starting Monday, any traveler coming into the United States must test negative for COVID within 24 hours of their flight.

White House chief health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci says doctors are working to understand the omicron variant better.

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