Healthcare

Rhode Island reports first case of omicron variant

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Rhode Island has reported its first case of the omicron variant, making it one of the dozens of states to have detected the new COVID-19 strain. 

Gov. Dan McKee (D) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced the omicron case in a joint statement on Saturday

The infected individual is in their 20s and recently traveled from New York to Providence, according to the statement. 

The individual was fully vaccinated, but did not have a booster shot. 

“We fully expected that Omicron would eventually be detected in Rhode Island as it has been in our neighboring states. I want to be clear: Rhode Island is prepared. This is not cause for panic,” McKee said. 

The case was detected through a genomic surveillance program that is coordinated by the RIDOH, per the statement.

“Just like when the Delta variant was identified in Rhode Island, Rhode Islanders will come together to take the actions necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones. We know the best way to protect ourselves from Delta, Omicron or any other variant is to get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested and consider wearing a mask in crowded public places,” the governor added. 

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control on Friday showed that most of the 43 omicron cases recorded in the U.S. in early December have been mild, leading to just one hospitalization, which lasted two days, and zero deaths.

The country’s leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said the new variant appears less severe than the delta strain

Since the omicron variant was first detected in South Africa in late November, it has been reported in countries around the world and has prompted a wave of policies aimed at curbing its spread.

The U.S., among other nations, has barred travel from several countries in southern Africa after the variant was first recorded in the region. European countries have imposed a number of new coronavirus restrictions, as officials and scientists warn omicron will soon become the continent’s dominant strain.

Tags Anthony Fauci COVID-19 variants Dan McKee Omicron variant Rhode Island

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