Hawaii reports its first omicron case

Hawaii reported its first case of the omicron variant on Thursday, saying that the person who tested positive was unvaccinated.

The Hawaii Department of Health said a resident from the island of O’ahu had tested positive and was displaying moderate symptoms. The person had already contracted COVID-19 in the past. 

The person did not have a history of travel, according to the state health department. The department further noted that the variant had been picked up through community spread, meaning that other undetected cases are already in Hawaii.

The department said the case had been detected on Monday “with a molecular clue indicating it may be Omicron.” Hawaii confirmed on Thursday that it was the omicron variant after the state’s Laboratories Division performed an expedited genome sequencing on the specimen taken from the infected resident.

“This isn’t reason for panic, but it is reason for concern. It’s a reminder the pandemic is ongoing. We need to protect ourselves by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, distancing as best we can and avoiding large crowds,” Hawaii Health Director Elizabeth Char said in a statement. 

The report from Hawaii comes the same day that New York confirmed it had found five cases of the omicron variant in its state, after another confirmed case was reported in Minnesota earlier that day. 

The United States detected its first case of the variant on Wednesday, in a San Francisco resident who had just returned from South Africa. 

The country had on Monday adopted travel restrictions against eight southern African countries after South Africa first detected the variant. However, health officials acknowledged that omicron would “inevitably” hit the U.S. soon.

“As we all know, when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here,” President Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci told ABC’s “This Week,” anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci COVID-19 variants George Stephanopoulos Hawaii Joe Biden omicron

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