Variant of Omicron detected in Ohio, state health department says

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Ohio by genomic sequencing, the Ohio Department of Health said on Saturday.

The variant

According to health officials, the tests were performed by the Ohio State University lab.

Both cases were found in adult men in the central part of the state. Both people tested positive on December 7 via a PCR test. Health officials said the two men received their initial dose of the vaccine six months ago, but neither received a booster.

Both men have mild symptoms and have not been hospitalized. The ODH said the men had not traveled out of the country. Health officials are trying to find out more about places where they may have been infected and are conducting contact tracing.

The two positive omicron tests represent about 0.2% of the roughly 1,000 tests sequenced by the OSU lab, the ODH said. The other cases were all the delta variant.

“We knew it would only be a matter of time before a case of Omicron was detected in Ohio. The CDC believes this variant has likely been circulating in the United States since November,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health. , MBA. “The arrival of this variant and the continued impact of the delta variant underscore the importance of our best prevention tool, who chooses to be vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines, combined with preventive measures, offer the best protection against serious illnesses leading to hospitalization or death If you have not yet been vaccinated or are eligible for a booster dose, now is the time to get vaccinated.

He continued, “While Omicron’s arrival in Ohio is notable, we must not lose sight of the fact that the Delta variant continues to generate a very high number of cases and hospitalizations. Yesterday there were 4,422 patients in hospital with COVID-19, a high that matches what we experienced in January 2021 during last winter’s surge. Hospitalizations in this delta wave are largely due to unvaccinated Ohioans. Critical illness with COVID-19 is largely preventable with vaccines. “

Vanderoff said the first reports from South Africa indicated that omicron may be more contagious and more likely to re-infect people.

“Of course, there has been some question as to whether vaccines would remain protective. The results of early vaccine research are encouraging, reinforcing the benefits of the primary series and timely boosters,” Vanderhoff said. “If you test positive for COVID-19, how you and public health officials react shouldn’t be determined by which variant you have. Whichever variant is likely to spread, isolation and quarantine remain essential to prevent further spread of the virus. If you are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested immediately. Even if you are vaccinated, it is important to take preventive measures to protect yourself and others, and to minimize the spread of the virus. “

COVID-19 in Ohio

ODH reported 8,072 coronavirus cases in the state on Saturday. This is higher than the 21-day average of 6,541 cases. In the last day, 313 people were hospitalized and 35 people were admitted to intensive care.

Ohio Department of Health

Almost 59% of the state’s population has at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 53% of the population have been fully immunized, and more than 2 million of the 11.69 million people in Ohio have received a booster, according to the ODH.

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