State health officials have detected the first known case of the omicron variant in the state.
On Tuesday, the Southern Nevada Health District said the variant was found in a woman from Clark County in her mid-20s who was fully-vaccinated but had not received a booster dose of the vaccine. The health department did not say whether the woman had recently traveled to a state or country that has reported cases of omicron.
While the case is still being investigated, the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory tested the specimen and is continuing to provide genome sequencing for positive COVID-19 cases to determine the presence of variants in the community.
Health officials say omicron appears to spread faster than the delta variant but may not cause as severe an illness.
“We knew that it was only a matter of time that we would identify the omicron variant in Southern Nevada,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, District Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District in a statement. “People can protect themselves from all variants of the COVID-19 virus by getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster when they are eligible, wearing a mask in public indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status, and staying home and getting tested if they are sick.”
Leguen also reiterated that people who have symptoms or who test positive for COVID-19 should follow self-isolation and quarantine guidance to ensure that they do not infect others. Frequent handwashing and getting a flu vaccine are also recommended to help keep people healthier this holiday season.
“The omicron variant in Nevada is a reminder to all those who have not completed their COVID-19 vaccination series, that vaccination can protect against serious illness,” said Nevada State Epidemiologist Melissa Peek-Bullock. “As the weather gets cold and we celebrate the holidays with family and friends it is imperative that we all continue to take this virus seriously and maintain the mitigation measures that we know work.”
Nevada now joins at least 30 other U.S. states that have confirmed cases of the omicron variant, which the the Centers for Disease Control has classified as a variant of concern.
The Delta variant remains the dominant variant circulating in the United States and Clark County, said state health officials.
All Nevada adults are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination booster shots, regardless of the brand of vaccination they received (6 months after receiving their Pfizer or Moderna shots, or 2 months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson shot).
Additionally, federal regulators authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11, who will receive two doses, each about a third of the size of an adult dose, spaced three weeks apart.
According to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.
For more information on vaccinations go to NVCOVIDFighter.org or call 800-401-0946.
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