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Omicron variant detected in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed the Omicron variant in an unvaccinated metro Atlanta resident with no recent international travel history on Dec. 9. The individual had mild COVID symptoms and was isolating at home. Contact tracing is underway to identify close contacts at risk of COVID-19 infection. 

According to Hayla Folden of District 4 Public Health, the DPH did not share the location of the individual. 

“It is especially important for people to be mindful of washing hands, maintaining physical distance and masking when indoors regardless of vaccination status,” she said. 

Previously, two cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in metro Atlanta residents. 

The omicron variant has now been detected in patients in at least 21 U.S. states and in dozens of countries around the world. 

“Preliminary data show that Omicron may cause less severe illness but may spread more easily than the Delta variant. Scientists are still researching how well the current COVID vaccines or natural immunity hold up against Omicron, and caution that it is too early to make conclusions about Omicron because there is not enough data available,” said Folden. 

More than 1,000 new cases of COVID are reported daily in Georgia, 99% of which are Delta variant and predominantly in unvaccinated individuals. Vaccination is crucial to stopping transmission of COVID and preventing the emergence of variants. 

All Georgians over the age of 5 are now eligible for COVID vaccination. Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for adults 18 and older who completed their first series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or two months ago for J&J vaccine. (CDC recommendations for booster doses of Pfizer vaccine are currently pending for 16- and 17-year-olds.) The CDC also recommends general prevention measures such as wearing a mask in public settings, staying 6 feet from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and frequently washing your hands to protect against COVID-19. 

Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should get tested. To find a COVID vaccine or COVID testing location log on to dph.ga.gov.

There were 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks according to DPH, with no additional deaths in Pike. As of Dec. 9, there were 8 confirmed cases in Pike County schools and 13 quarantined. 

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