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First case of Omicron coronavirus variant case detected in Virginia

The case was from an adult with no history of recent travel

The case was identified in a sample from an adult Northwest Virginia resident who had no history of international travel; however, did have a history of domestic travel during the exposure period.

The omicron variant has reached Virginia.

On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health announced the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has been found in Virginia.

The case was identified in a sample from an adult Northwest Virginia resident who had no history of international travel; however, did have a history of domestic travel during the exposure period.

This variant was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in November 2021 and may spread more easily than other variants, including Delta, according to VDH.

The map below shows precisely how VDH defines the Northwest region:

Virginia Department of Health map of regions and districts (Virginia Department of Health)

“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. Norm Oliver. “This drives home the challenge the COVID-19 virus presents to the world as the virus changes and mutates over time. Scientists are hard at work studying the newly identified variant to understand how easily it spreads and how sick it makes people. 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. 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.”

As of Thursday, 21 other states are reporting a case of this strain, according to VDH.


About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.