Omicron variant detected in Georgia resident; New variant reinforces the need for vaccination and testing

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The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has been notified of a Georgia resident currently in New Jersey who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. The individual recently traveled from South Africa and was in Georgia for two days before heading to New Jersey where testing and sequencing was done.

The individual is fully vaccinated and self-isolates in New Jersey. Contact tracing is underway there and in Georgia to identify close contacts at risk of infection. So far, no other case of Omicron in Georgia has been identified.

“Vaccination and boosters are essential to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 and help prevent the emergence of new variants like Omicron,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, MD, MPH, 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 that after being vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with variants may decrease over time. The first data from South Africa suggests an increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining the effectiveness of the vaccine linked to this variant.

All Georgians over the age of 5 are now eligible for COVID vaccination. Booster doses of the vaccine are recommended for adults 18 years of age and older who completed their first series of vaccines at least six months ago. The CDC also recommends general prevention measures such as wearing a mask in public places, staying 6 feet from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands frequently to protect against COVID- 19.

People who show symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should get tested.

To find a COVID vaccine or a COVID testing location near you, log on to dph.ga.gov.

DPH will continue to monitor Omicron developments and provide updates as new information becomes available.

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