Health Department detects Virginia’s first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health confirmed on Thursday that someone in Virginia’s Northwest region has contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19. This is the first case identified in the commonwealth.

The person has been identified as an adult who has not traveled out of the country. A release from the health department states the person had traveled domestically prior to contracting the virus.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we would record our first Omicron infection in the Commonwealth,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver. “This drives home the challenge the COVID-19 virus presents to the world as the virus changes and mutates over time.”

Omicron, one of the latest COVID-19 variants identified by experts is said to possibly spread more easily than other variants. Another concern is that people who previously contracted the virus may not have as much protection against infection with Omicron. However, the VDH said there is no evidence that the Omicron cases are any more severe than other variants.

“Right now, the highly transmissible Delta variant is causing almost all cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. We have very effective vaccines that can interrupt the chain of transmission and reduce the odds that unpredictable mutations like the Delta and Omicron variants will emerge,” Oliver said. “Do your part. Get vaccinated if you are eligible. Get your booster shot if you’re eligible. Vaccination is how Virginia, the U.S. and the world will put this pandemic behind us.”

The VDH recommends people wear a mask, get vaccinated, social distance, wash their hands and stay home if they’re sick in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant and other COVID-19 variants.

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