Vermont's First Case of Omicron Variant of COVID-19 Confirmed | Off Message

Vermont's First Case of Omicron Variant of COVID-19 Confirmed

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Artist's rendition of the virus - © CHINNASORN PANGCHAROEN | DREAMSTIME
  • © Chinnasorn Pangcharoen | Dreamstime
  • Artist's rendition of the virus
Vermont has confirmed its first case of the highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The specimen was collected on December 8 from a Lamoille County resident in their 30s, the state health department said Saturday, adding that the individual was fully vaccinated and has been experiencing mild symptoms.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we saw Omicron in our state,” Health Commissioner Mark Levine said in a press release.



The news comes just a day after the City of Burlington announced that readings from its wastewater monitoring program indicated the new variant may be spreading locally.
More than 40 other states have confirmed the variant since it was first identified in South Africa just a month ago. It's expected to become the dominant strain before long.

Scientists are racing to study how Omicron compares to previous variants of the virus, including Delta, which has pushed case counts and hospitalizations to record heights in Vermont this fall. Early data suggests that Omicron could be twice as transmissible as Delta but may produce less severe infections, though it’s still too soon to know for sure.

“I can’t emphasize this enough: All Vermonters need to be as protected as possible, as soon as possible,” Levine said in the press release. “Vaccines are our best line of defense against this virus, and our ability to slow Omicron’s spread and to reduce the chances of new variants from emerging depends on our being fully protected.”