The omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Arizona, state says

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A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The first known case of the omicron variant in Arizona was detected in Yavapai County, state health officials announced Wednesday.

The Arizona Department of Health Services made the announcement with Yavapai County Community Health Services. Information about the patient was not immediately available.

B.1.1.529, also known as omicron, is a highly mutated variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, or new coronavirus, that causes COVID-19. It was first detected in South Africa and has since been discovered in several other countries. It has been detected in at least 21 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Much remains unknown about the omicron variant at this time, including whether it is more transmissible and more capable of producing severe illness than the Delta variant,” said Don Herrington, ADHS interim director in a written statement.

“We do know that current COVID-19 vaccines have remained very effective against Delta and other variants, and I strongly encourage Arizonans to get vaccinated if they aren’t already and make sure they’re current on their booster dose if they are fully vaccinated.”

Republic reporter Melina Walling contributed to this article.

Reach the reporter at Stephanie.Innes@gannett.com or at 602-444-8369. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieinnes.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: State announces first known Arizona case of the omicron variant