Courtesy CDC

The Georgia Department of Public Health on Sunday confirmed the first in-state case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant.

Health officials say the individual recently traveled from South Africa, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Genomic sequencing confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant.

The individual is isolating at home and contract tracing is underway, according to a press release.

Health officials on Dec. 3 had identified a Georgia resident who tested positive for the Omicron variant, but that individual is currently in New Jersey.

The World Health Organization in late November called Omicron a “variant of concern,” saying it has a large number of mutations and “has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.”

Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said vaccination is key to preventing further transmission of COVID-19 and helps prevent new variants from emerging.  

“It also is important to remember that even as Omicron is emerging, we are still in the midst of a pandemic currently being fueled by the Delta variant,” Toomey said.

All Georgians over the age of five are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for adults 18 and older who completed their first series of vaccine at least six months ago.

Amy Wenk

Amy Wenk was editor of Reporter Newspapers in 2021-22.