Omicron: 1st case of COVID-19 variant detected in Utah, Massachusetts; NY confirms 3 new cases

Officials in both Massachusetts and Utah have confirmed their first cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed Saturday afternoon that genetic sequencing has identified the COVID-19 omicron variant in a female resident of Middlesex County in her 20s who traveled out of state recently, WFXT reported.

The patient is fully vaccinated, has experienced mild symptoms and has not required hospitalization, the TV station reported.

The Utah Department of Health confirmed its first omicron variant case late Friday, but identified the patient only as an “older adult” who had recently returned home to Utah from traveling to South Africa, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

According to the health department, the Utah patient, who is recovering at home after experiencing only mild symptoms, is fully vaccinated and has received monoclonal antibody treatment, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, health officials in New York confirmed Saturday that three more omicron variant cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of statewide cases linked to the new variant to eight.

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“The omicron variant is here, and as anticipated we are seeing the beginning of community spread,” New York Health Commissioner Mary Bassett stated in a news release.

To date, seven of the state’s omicron cases have been detected in New York City, while the eighth was found in Suffolk County.

>> Related: Coronavirus: First case of omicron variant discovered in US

Omicron was first identified in Botswana on Nov. 11 and has since spread to several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, confirmed that the first case of the omicron variant had been confirmed in California. Cases have since been confirmed in several states, including Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and New York.

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Health officials have cautioned that much remains unknown about the variant, which has mutations that suggest it could be more transmissible than previous variants or more resistant to the currently available vaccines. Officials have urged people to get vaccinated or get their booster shots to protect themselves against severe illness from COVID-19.

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