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First case of omicron variant confirmed in Washoe County


Washoe County Health District (WCHD) officials on Monday reported the county’s first case of the COVID-19 omicron variant. 

Nevada State Public Health Lab, which runs genetic sequencing on COVID-19 tests from throughout the state, confirmed the positive case in a male in his early 50s. The man is fully vaccinated and received a COVID-19 booster. He is recovering and isolating at home according to a statement from WCHD. 

Health officials said both international and domestic air travel were his likely source of exposure.

For several weeks district health officer Kevin Dick has said it was only a matter of time until the omicron variant arrived in northern Nevada. The first case of the omicron variant in Nevada was confirmed Dec. 14 in Clark County.

Dick urged the public to remain focused on vaccination and mitigation efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and the new omicron variant in the community. 

“The best form of protection residents can take against all variants is getting fully vaccinated and receiving a booster,” Dick said. “It is also imperative, especially now with the cold weather and holiday gatherings, that they continue taking safety precautions such as staying home and getting tested if they feel sick and wearing a mask indoors in public.”

Consistent mask wearing, hand washing, and isolating if symptoms are detected or if one tests positive are also recommended.

“Variants develop when the virus has the opportunity to spread from person to person,” explained Dr. Nancy Diao, WCHD Director of Epidemiology. “Which is why vaccines and other preventive measures are so important in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 and slowing the rate of new variants developing.”

Vaccine appointments can be made by visiting the state’s community vaccinations page, or go to https://www.vaccines.gov.

Source: WCHD

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