Three omicron cases of COVID-19 identified in Maryland: Gov. Hogan

Maryland Governor Larry HoganLarry HoganThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Maryland first lady tests positive for COVID-19 'Unprecedented:' States invest in child care to recover pandemic losses MORE (R) announced that three confirmed cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 were identified Friday among Maryland residents in the Baltimore area. 

The virus was tested by the Maryland Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory and partners. 

Two of the cases stem from the same household, the press release notes, including a vaccinated individual who recently returned from traveling to South Africa and a person in close contact with him or her who was not vaccinated. The third case is not related and the person does not have a notable travel history to trace the contact of the disease. 

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Hogan's release states that contact tracing is being conducted to quarantine and test people who may have also been exposed. 

“Thanks to our aggressive surveillance system, we have quickly identified the first cases of the Omicron variant in Maryland,” Hogan said. “We urge Marylanders to continue taking precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Getting a vaccine or a booster shot is the single most important thing that you can do to protect yourself and those around you.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will continue to keep Marylanders updated as new information becomes available," he added.

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in California, New York, Colorado, Minnesota, Hawaii, Nebraska, and now Maryland, according to Reuters.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also is reportedly laying out steps for an expedited review of drugs and vaccines that may be used to tackle the omicron variant, if needed.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the steps laid out would ensure that a modified vaccine for omicron would only take about three months to approve under the reported FDA steps.

White House chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony Fauci Auschwitz Memorial says RFK Jr. speech at anti-vaccine rally exploits Holocaust tragedy Thousands descend on DC for anti-vaccine mandate rally Sunday shows - Russia standoff over Ukraine dominates MORE said Friday, "We could probably get a good bit of mileage just from boosting with the ancestral strain vaccine that we already have."