Health officials in Idaho, North Carolina and Rhode Island reported the states’ first cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus on Friday.
Mecklenburg County health officials said that a student at the University of North Carolina Charlotte was isolated and has recovered.
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The individual’s exposure was limited, with only one known contact.
The case is the only report of omicron that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has received thus far.
Central District Health – the public health agency that serves four counties including the Boise region – said the variant of concern had been confirmed in an adult who had recently traveled out-of-state.
The Ada County resident, who is over the age of 50, was fully vaccinated and had “very mild” symptoms.
“It’s important for people to realize that this new and highly transmissible variant has now been detected in Idaho, and many areas across the U.S.,” Lindsay Haskell, Central District Health’s Communicable Disease Control Manager, said in a statement. ” Many Idahoans regularly travel this time of year, and we need to remember to continue to take precautions, including receiving your vaccine or vaccine booster if you have not done so already.”
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In Rhode Island, a person in their 20s tested positive for the variant after recently returning to Providence County from New York. The person has been vaccinated but has not received a booster shot.
All three states recommend vaccination against COVID-19.
Experts have said that the best way to protect against omicron is by getting vaccinated and booster shots when eligible, however much remains unknown about the strain.
Scientists are working to determine how easily the variant spreads compared to others, whether it can cause more severe illness and whether it can evade immune protection and COVID-19 vaccines.
Early indications suggest it may be more easily transmissible but cause less severe illness than the delta variant.
Delta accounts for more than 99% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
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Omicron has infected more than 40 people in the U.S. – more than three-quarters of whom had been vaccinated – and has been detected in 25 states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.