Genview Diagnosis medical assistants Crystal Leyva (L), and Keitia Perez administer COVID-19 sampling assessments, to laboratory technicians, at Foxconn Assembly on August 13, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
Several southern U.S. states, together with Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida, have confirmed instances of the omicron Covid-19 variant because the extremely mutated pressure takes root in half of all U.S. states.
Twenty-five U.S. states have detected instances of the brand new pressure, a quantity that well being officers count on to extend within the coming weeks, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated at a White House Covid briefing Friday. The omicron instances come because the nation grapples with a wave of delta infections that has pushed Covid instances over 100,000 per day, 16% improve during the last week and up 23% since earlier than Thanksgiving, based on John Hopkins University information.
Scientists are nonetheless racing to reply questions on omicron’s transmissibility, severity and impression on vaccine efficacy. Meanwhile, state, industrial and tutorial labs throughout the U.S. are upping genome sequencing efforts to detect extra instances of the variant.
Georgia public well being officers reported three instances of the variant as of Thursday, all of whom dwell within the Atlanta-metropolitan space.
The first two instances had been introduced in a press launch on Sunday. One affected person developed gentle signs and examined constructive for Covid after touring from South Africa. The state well being division additionally stated it was notified on Dec. 3 concerning the second affected person, who examined constructive in New Jersey and is presently recovering there.
The division didn’t element the signs or severity of their infections.
The third case was confirmed on Thursday in an unvaccinated particular person with no current worldwide journey historical past. The affected person is struggling gentle Covid signs and isolating at residence.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is conducting contact tracing to establish shut contacts of the contaminated sufferers, based on a Thursday press launch.
State Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey stated vaccination was “key” to stopping the unfold of Covid and the emergence of variants like omicron, based on the press launch. She additionally emphasised that delta nonetheless drives the vast majority of infections within the U.S.
“It is also vital to do not forget that at the same time as Omicron is rising, we’re nonetheless within the midst of a pandemic presently being fueled by the Delta variant,” Toomey stated.
Delta nonetheless accounts for greater than 99% of all genetically sequenced instances within the U.S., CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy stated throughout a White House press briefing on Tuesday.
Georgia recorded a seven-day transferring common of 1,334 constructive assessments for the virus on Thursday, after that quantity had bottomed out beneath 1,000 for many of November, based on information from the CDC. The constructive assessments have been steadily rising since Thanksgiving however are nonetheless far beneath the 7,000 to 9,000 seven-day averages seen in August.
Louisiana public well being officers reported 37 instances of the omicron variant as of Thursday. However, solely three instances are confirmed and 34 are nonetheless “possible,” the state well being division stated in a press launch.
The first possible case was reported and recognized on Dec. 3. in a Greater New Orleans space resident who lately traveled inside the U.S.
An further 16 possible instances had been reported on Wednesday, whereas 20 had been disclosed on Thursday alone.
At least 28 possible instances and a couple of confirmed instances are in residents of the Greater New Orleans space. Three possible instances are in sufferers from the Baton Rouge space. Two possible instances are in sufferers from Northwest Louisiana.
One confirmed case can also be in a resident from Northshore, a neighborhood in Louisiana.
The state well being division didn’t present further details about the severity of the infections. The division solely famous that one other affected person from the Acadiana space lately traveled internationally however didn’t require hospitalization after testing constructive.
“These new instances of Omicron ought to function a reminder of the continuing risk of COVID particularly as we prepare to collect for the vacations,” stated State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter within the press launch, additionally urging Louisiana residents to get vaccinated and boosted.
Louisiana recorded 439 new instances Thursday, based on information from the CDC, nonetheless beneath its peak in October when the seven-day common hit 530.
The Texas state public well being division confirmed its first case of omicron on Monday in a resident of Harris County the place Houston is positioned. The division famous that the affected person was an grownup feminine however didn’t present extra data on her signs or when she examined constructive.
The Harris County Public Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services are presently investigating the case.
“It’s regular for viruses to mutate, and given how shortly Omicron unfold in southern Africa, we’re not shocked that it confirmed up right here,” stated Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state well being division commissioner.
Texas recorded a seven-day transferring common of two,554 instances Thursday, based on information from the CDC. This quantity is much beneath what it was within the earlier months, with the seven-day transferring common hitting as much as 9,000 in October and 19,000 in September.
Two instances of the omicron variant have been reported in Florida as of Thursday, a spokesperson for the state’s division of public well being advised CNBC.
The division was notified of the primary affected person by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, the spokesperson stated, noting that they’re unable to supply particulars on the case.
The hospital famous in a press release to WFLA that the affected person is experiencing gentle signs and lately traveled internationally.
“Our suppliers had been in a position to shortly detect, take a look at, affirm and add this information to our growing understanding of this pressure,” the hospital stated within the assertion, based on WFLA.
The second case from St. Lucie County was reported by the state well being division to the CDC, the spokesperson added. They didn’t present further particulars on the case.
When requested about experiences of the brand new omicron instances at a Tuesday information briefing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated he wouldn’t impose lockdowns within the state.
“In Florida, we can’t allow them to lock you down, we can’t allow them to limit you, we’re not gonna allow them to impose mandates, we’re not gonna allow them to shut the colleges, we’re gonna shield your freedom to make your selections,” DeSantis advised reporters.
“And I’ve no downside if any person is nervous, in the event that they’re terrified of omicron and so they wish to lock down or they wish to isolate, that’s completely their determination in a free society, however you do not impose Fauci-ism on the entire nation or on the entire state, it is fallacious,” he continued.
As of Thursday, Florida had a seven-day transferring common of 1,873 constructive assessments of the virus, based on information from the CDC. This quantity has been rising over the previous few weeks, final reaching 1,800 new instances a day on Oct. 28.