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Michigan health officials confirm state's first case of omicron variant

Beaumont Health
/

Michigan health officials have identified the state’s first case of the omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The case was discovered in Kent County. State health officials are trying to determine if the adult patient traveled outside the state of Michigan.

The initial detection was reported to the Michigan Disease Surveillance System on December 3. On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control informed the state health department that genetic sequencing confirmed it was indeed the omicron variant.

The omicron variant was first detected last month in South Africa. The first case in the U.S. was confirmed December 1.

Michigan joins the list of more than 20 other states with confirmed omicron cases.

The CDC expects that anyone infected with omicron can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the recent emergence of omicron further emphasizes the importance of primary vaccinations and boosters.

“We have tools that prevent the spread of COVID-19, including omicron. However, we continue to see that those not utilizing these tools, including vaccines, are disproportionately affected by this virus,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive.

Copyright 2021 Michigan Radio

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting. During his two and a half decades in broadcasting, Steve has won numerous awards, including accolades from the Associated Press and Radio and Television News Directors Association. Away from the broadcast booth, Steve is an avid reader and movie fanatic. Q&A