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2-state health officials react to first case of omicron variant in U.S.

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The first case of COVID’s new omicron strain is now officially reported in the United States.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced there is a case out of San Francisco. The U.S. is now one of at least 24 countries that have detected the strain.

Officials at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control say they’re no more concerned than they were before the announcement came out. They say we have all the necessary means to protect ourselves from this new variant.

Right now, health officials say there’s no indication the omicron variant is in Georgia or South Carolina.

But the questions are how effective the vaccine is and how aggressive the variant is.

DHEC says it could likely be weeks before we know the answers to either of those questions – though early studies indicate omicron could be slightly more aggressive than the delta variant. With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important to remain cautious and get vaccinated.

“At this time, we do know very little about this newest variant. We continue to closely monitor the new information from both the CDC and World Health Organization,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, director of public health with DHEC. “However, regardless of omicron or delta or any other variant, the actions you can take to protect yourselves and the people around you remains the same.”

She was talking about vaccines, masks and social distancing, and one thing both Georgia and South Carolina are doing is ramping up their testing to see if those variants do start to pop up.

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