These are the states where the omicron variant has been identified

·5 min read


The omicron coronavirus variant has been found in 12 U.S. states just three days days after the first case in the country was announced.

The new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world. One day after Thanksgiving, the World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on the variant, which it has determined is a "variant of concern."

Omicron earned the WHO classification due to its large number of mutations and increased risk of reinfection, according to evidence from the health body's research.

Following the news of the omicron variant, world leaders, including President Biden, instated travel bans from southern African countries in an attempt to stop the spread.

Scientists are still unsure of how transmissible the variant is, if it renders the coronavirus vaccines ineffective and if it is more deadly than previous strains.

But despite those mitigation efforts, 12 states have reported cases of the new strain since Wednesday, some among patients who have not traveled internationally in recent weeks. More cases are likely to be announced in other states soon.

Here are the states where the omicron variant has been detected so far.

California

California was the first state to report a case of the omicron variant in the U.S. on Wednesday.

Officials said the first omicron case in California came from a fully vaccinated San Francisco resident.

The person had mild symptoms after traveling back from South Africa on Nov. 22.

All those who had close contact with the individual tested negative for the virus.

Colorado

An omicron case was detected in the U.S. on Thursday, making it the third case in the nation reported this week. The patient was a woman from Arapahoe County.

She had recently traveled back from a vacation in southern Africa when she tested positive.

The woman was fully vaccinated and experienced only minor symptoms from the variant.

Georgia/New Jersey

One woman became the first omicron case for New Jersey and Georgia while she was traveling back to the country from South Africa.

The fully vaccinated Georgia resident tested positive on Nov. 28 and is currently in an emergency room in New Jersey recovering from moderate symptoms, New Jersey officials said.

Georgia officials said the resident was in Georgia for two days on her trip back from South Africa before going to New Jersey, according to WSB-TV.

Hawaii

Hawaii reported its first omicron case on Thursday from a resident who was unvaccinated.

The state's health department said the person did not have a recent travel history, meaning they contracted the omicron variant through community spread - a fact that suggests there are more omicron cases in Hawaii.

The person had already contracted the coronavirus in previous months and is experiencing moderate symptoms from the variant.

The case was detected on the island of Oahu.

Maryland

Maryland announced three omicron cases on Friday from residents in the Baltimore area.

Two of the positive cases are among members of the same household. One vaccinated family member recently traveled to South Africa, while the other does not have a recent travel history and is unvaccinated.

The third resident is not related to the other patients and has no notable travel history.

Missouri

Missouri announced its first omicron case Friday from a St. Louis City resident.

The presumed omicron case still needs to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but officials said the woman has a recent domestic travel history.

State officials did not say if the woman was vaccinated against the virus.

Minnesota

Minnesota was the second state to confirm the omicron variant in the U.S. on Thursday.

The variant was found in a person who had recently traveled from New York City and is vaccinated.

The man developed mild symptoms from the variant that have since cleared.

However, there are concerns about his infection, as it was revealed that the man had attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention in the days before his symptoms appeared. Tens of thousands of people attended the convention.

After the news broke of the Minnesota man's diagnosis, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) urged all 53,000 attendees of the event to get tested.

Nebraska

Nebraska announced six omicron cases on Friday, with the outbreak occurring through household contact.

The first case was likely a person who returned from Nigeria on Nov. 23 and began experiencing symptoms on Nov. 24.

None of the residents have gone to the hospital, with only one of the six people vaccinated against the virus.

New York

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced five omicron cases on Thursday, making New York the fourth state to find the new variant.

Four cases were found in New York City, with two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and one other in an unknown borough. The fifth positive case was in Suffolk County.

The Suffolk County case appeared in a 67-year-old woman who is at least partially vaccinated, with officials unsure if she completed her vaccination series. The woman had recently traveled to South Africa.

The resident from the unknown borough traveled from South Africa and tested negative for the coronavirus on Nov. 25, but a second test on Nov. 30 revealed a positive result.

Hochul said the resident in the unknown borough is a "suspected traveler case." The vaccination statuses of all the affected residents in New York City are unclear.

Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Pennsylvania's first omicron case on Friday.

The department said the case is in a man in his 30s from Northwest Philadelphia who has reported mild symptoms.

It is not clear if the man was vaccinated, and the department did not detail his recent travel history.

Utah

Utah confirmed its first omicron case on Friday in an older adult who lives within the Southwest Utah Public Health District.

The person recently traveled from South Africa and is experiencing mild symptoms.

The resident is fully vaccinated and had a monoclonal antibody treatment. The state's health department has already determined the person's close contacts.

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