1st Georgia resident tests positive for COVID-19 omicron variant

Coronavirus

FILE – James Robson, a biomedical engineering graduate student, holds a swab and specimen vial in the new COVID-19, on-campus testing lab, Thursday, July 23, 2020, at Boston University in Boston. The United States has improved its surveillance system for tracking new coronavirus variants such as omicron, boosting its capacity by tens of thousands of samples since early 2021. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Georgia resident has now tested positive for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, the state health department announced Friday.

The resident — who is fully vaccinated — recently traveled from South Africa to Georgia, where they stayed for two days before heading to New Jersey, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Testing was performed in New Jersey, and the individual remains isolated there at this time.

DPH said no other omicron cases have been identified in Georgia. Officials added contact tracing is now underway in both Georgia and New Jersey.

According to local health experts, omicron appears to be more contagious than the delta variant.

Some of the other U.S. cases of omicron were detected among fully vaccinated individuals, and officials say it’s not yet known how effective the vaccine will be against this new variant.

“It’s conceivable that the antibodies induced by the vaccine will be less effective,” said Coastal Health District Health Director Dr. Lawton Davis. “Again, we don’t know yet.”

Widespread, health officials still urge getting vaccinated or a booster shot if you are eligible.

Vaccination and boosters are key to preventing further transmission of COVID-19 and help
prevent new variants like omicron from emerging. Only 51% of Georgians are fully vaccinated and of those individuals, less than 20% have received booster doses.

DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey

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