ATLANTA – A Georgia resident who was in New Jersey last week was identified as the first resident of the state to test positive for the omicron variant, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Friday.
On Sunday, DPH announced the first case of the highly mutated COVID-19 variant was detected by a resident currently in the state.
The DPH said the individual in New Jersey recently traveled from South Africa and was in Georgia for two days before traveling on to New Jersey where the testing and sequencing were done.
DPH said Friday the person is fully vaccinated and is isolated in New Jersey.
Contact tracing is underway there and in Georgia to identify close contacts at risk of infection.
The individual identified in metro Atlanta on Sunday recently traveled from South Africa and developed mild symptoms before testing positive for COVID-19, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Genomic sequencing confirmed the presence of the omicron variant.
“Vaccination and boosters are key to preventing further transmission of COVID-19 and help prevent new variants like Omicron from emerging,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Only 51% of Georgians are fully vaccinated and of those individuals less than 20% have received booster doses.”
Studies show after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with variants may decrease over time. Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant, according to DPH.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 testing location in Georgia log on to dph.ga.gov.
For updates on COVID-19 in Georgia, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.