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First case of Omicron variant confirmed in Utah

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Utah – The UDOH has confirmed Utah’s first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

According to UDOH, the case was discovered through ongoing genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples at the Utah Public Health Library.

An older adult who lives within the Southwest Utah Public Health District and recently returned home to Utah after traveling to South Africa is the person who tested positive for the virus.

According to health officials, the person is fully vaccinated, received monoclonal antibody treatment, and is recovering at home after experiencing mild symptoms.

“Given the high number of Utahns traveling in and out of the state, it is not surprising the Omicron variant has been found in Utah,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at the UDOH. “The discovery of this case does not change the way Utah residents should protect themselves but reinforces that we all need to take this virus seriously. Please take action to protect yourself. Get vaccinated and get a booster dose when you qualify, wear a mask in crowded, indoor settings, get tested early if you have symptoms, and stay home if you are sick or test positive.”

Many of the people testing positive for Omicron in the U.S. have been vaccinated. According to Dr. Nolen, this has less to do with the vaccine’s efficacy, and more to do with who is allowed to travel.

“Most of the people traveling right now are vaccinated, especially to these international destinations,” said Nolen.

The UDOH conducted a case investigation, including identifying any close contacts of the case. According to the press release, the person who tested positive and their close contacts have been very cooperative and are following the isolation, quarantine, and testing guidance of public health authorities.

As a precautionary measure, the CDC recommends international travelers who are unvaccinated should stay home and away from others for seven days after their trip and all travelers should get tested 3-5 days after they return to Utah.

 

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