Health officials say no cases of omicron variant identified in SC so far

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — State health officials said they continue to “closely monitor” the latest developments with the Omicron variant.

The first US case was confirmed in California Wednesday afternoon.

DHEC officials said the new variant of COVID-19 has not been detected here in South Carolina as of Wednesday.

Director of Public Health Dr. Brannon Traxler said surveillance for the new variant has been ongoing. She said random positive tests are sequenced in private labs and in DHEC’s Public Lab daily.

Dr. Traxler said, “I don’t know if it’s already in the Carolinas. At least in South Carolina we have a very robust testing and sequencing program.” 

According to DHEC’s website, they also sequence all breakthrough cases in the state for variants.

Health officials said right now the new variant’s severity, transmissibility compared to other variants, and the effectiveness of current vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments against it are not known at this time as data and information continues to be gathered.

Dr. Traxler recommends the same protections South Carolinians have been taking to combat the spread of the disease.

She said, “Regardless of omicron, delta or any other variant, the actions you can take to protect yourself and others around you remains the same. Vaccinations, masks, testing and physical distancing.” 

Traxler told reporters during a media briefing it could take a couple weeks to know how the Omicron variant compares to other strains.

She said the Delta variant remains the predominant variant here in South Carolina.

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