Georgia Department of Health Announces First Case of Omicron Variant in the State

 

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) officials said Sunday that they have confirmed the first case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant in the state.

“The individual recently traveled from South Africa and developed mild symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Genomic sequencing confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant,” DPH officials said in an emailed press release.

“The individual is isolating at home and contact tracing is underway to identify close contacts at risk of infection. This is the first identified in-state case of Omicron. DPH was notified December 3 of a Georgia resident currently in New Jersey who tested positive for the Omicron variant. 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.”

Facts surrounding the Omicron variant are emerging day-by-day. A report indicates that 70 countries have imposed travel restrictions from hot zones in Africa and a growing number of countries outside of Africa are reporting cases.

Moderna’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, said she worries that the new variant may have an impact on vaccine efficacy while Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, said the company is working on an updated vaccine if one is needed.

Five fully vaccinated California residents contracted the Omicron COVID variant as they attended a wedding in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that no cases have been contracted by residents at this time, however Wisconsin’s Department of Health (DHS) is investigating the “outbreak.”

According to Wisconsin’s COVID dashboard, Milwaukee County, where the Omicron variant was contracted, has what is considered “very high” case activity from November 23 through November 30, with around 550 cases per 100,000 people. That is an increase of around 22 cases from the prior week, and an increase of nearly 100 cases based on the data from the first two weeks of November.

As of Saturday, Wisconsin has had a total of 889,078 COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic and is currently reporting around 3,000 new cases per day, which is about half the number of newly reported cases they were having during the peak of the virus in 2020.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

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