By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming has now seen its first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Wyoming Department of Health announced Friday.
Lab sequencing has confirmed an Albany County adult who recently traveled domestically is infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19.
Confirmation is pending for a second Albany County adult presumed to also be infected with the omicron variant. Both cases were initially identified by a University of Wyoming laboratory with WDH involved with confirmation.
“With the quick spread of this variant across the nation, including within some of our neighbor states, we are not surprised with this result and expect there are other cases within Wyoming that haven’t yet been identified,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH.
Harrist said there is much still to learn about omicron and its potential impact over time, but she is concerned about how easily and quickly the variant appears to be transmitted between people.
“We continued to encourage vaccination, including recommended booster doses, as the best and most effective strategy to counter COVID-19,” Harrist said.
As of Thursday, Wyoming had 99 hospitalized COVID patients, 37 of which were at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, according to the Wyoming hospitalization tracker. Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital was treating three coronavirus patients.
As of Monday, 42.6% of Wyoming’s population was vaccinated against COVID. Just over half of Albany County’s population, 52.8%, was vaccinated.
The omicron variant has been reported in 38 states, according to Centers for Disease Control data. Though reported Omicron cases have so far been mild, experts advise that every precaution should be taken to prevent infection, CBS News reported.
In Orlando, Florida, Omicron was found in nearly 100% of the wastewater samples taken this week, CBS also reported.