PORTLAND, OR — When the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in the United States, Oregon officials said it was a matter of when the variant would be found here, not if. Monday was that day.
Three cases have been detected. Two were in Washington residents and one in a Multnomah County resident.
All three had been considered fully vaccinated, according to the state, which added that two had traveled internationally.
"We recognize this news is concerning to many people," Oregon's epidemiologist, Dr. Dean Sidelinger said.
"However, if history is our guide, we do know that even if a vaccine doesn’t target a specific variant, the strong immune response you get from being fully vaccinated can still be highly protective against severe disease from all COVID-19 variants."
The state released the following information about the three people:
A Multnomah County resident in their 20s, tested on Dec. 7, who was fully vaccinated. The individual traveled internationally to Canada prior to symptom onset. Additional details on the condition of the individual are not yet available;
A Washington County resident in their 20s, tested on Dec. 9, who was fully vaccinated. Additional details on the condition of the individual are not yet available; and
A Washington County resident in their 30s, tested on Dec. 9, who was fully vaccinated. The individual traveled internationally to Mexico prior to symptom onset. Additional details on the condition of the individual are not yet available.
The cases were detected by a lab at OHSU.
Sidelinger said that "it can’t be emphasized enough that vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19 infection and transmission, including most circulating variants."
He added that people should still take protective steps such as wearing masks, physically distancing, washing hands regularly, and staying home when sick.