Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in Ohio
Two Samples of the B.1.1.529 variant were detected through genomic sequencing.
TOLEDO, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health confirms the first two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been identified in Ohio following genomic sequencing by The Ohio State University Laboratory.
The variant was detected in 2 adult males in Central Ohio, and both tested positive after taking a PCR test on December 7th. Both were vaccinated as of six months ago, but neither had received their booster. The two are currently experiencing mild symptoms and have not been hospitalized.
Neither had a history of international travel. Although more information is being gathered, to protect patient privacy, exact age and county of residence are not being released at this time. Health officials have already begun the process of appropriate case investigation and contact tracing.
“We have known that it would only be a matter of time until a case of Omicron was detected in Ohio. The CDC believes that this variant has likely been circulating in the U.S. since November,” said ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff in a statement. “This variant’s arrival and the continued impact of the Delta variant underscore the importance of our best prevention tool, which is choosing to be vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines, coupled with prevention measures, provide the greatest protection from severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death. If you have not yet been vaccinated, or are eligible for a booster dose, now is the time to go and get your shot.”
The Ohio State University Laboratory is sequencing all positive PCR tests, and during the past three weeks, has sequenced about 1,000 positive PCR tests. These two positive tests reflect about 0.2% of all tests sequenced at the OSU lab — the remainder of which were Delta.
To schedule a vaccination appointment, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans who want to learn more about the safety, efficacy, and side effects of COVID-19 vaccines should talk to their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine to learn more.