ARIZONA NEWS

First case of omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Arizona

Dec 8, 2021, 4:14 PM | Updated: 4:44 pm

PHOENIX — The first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant was detected Wednesday in Arizona, state health officials said.

The case was confirmed in Yavapai County, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Much remains unknown about the omicron variant at this time, including whether it is more transmissible and more capable of producing severe illness than the Delta variant,” Don Herrington, ADHS interim director, said in a press release.

“We do know that current COVID-19 vaccines have remained very effective against Delta and other variants, and I strongly encourage Arizonans to get vaccinated if they aren’t already and make sure they’re current on their booster dose if they are fully vaccinated.”

No other information about the case was made available by health officials.

Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of disease control for Maricopa County Public Health, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday that she believed omicron was already in the state prior to Wednesday’s first detection.

Omicron was first confirmed in the United States last week in California and has since been detected in at least 15 states.

Yavapai County covers the area immediately north of metro Phoenix and includes Prescott.

“It’s natural to be concerned, but we should avoid overreacting to this news,” Leslie Horton, director of Yavapai County Community Health Services.

“Since late 2020, as different variants have come along, COVID-19 vaccines have consistently proven highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

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First case of omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Arizona