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.