LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The first known case of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District announced Tuesday. This is also the first known case of the variant in the state of Nevada, health officials stated.
The person who tested positive is a fully vaccinated female in her mid-20s. She had not received a vaccine booster shot.
Dr. Edwin Oh, associate professor at UNLV and director of their COVID wastewater testing and tracing program, says their system detected Omicron in Southern Nevada's waste water on Dec. 7, a week before SNHD announced the first confirmed case.
We knew it was only a matter of time.
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been confirmed in Southern Nevada. https://t.co/8fTR7FqAxd
— @SeanKTNV (@seanktnv) December 14, 2021
The Omicron variant was first identified in Africa classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26. The Delta variant of COVID-19 remains the most prominent variant in the United States and Nevada, health officials said.
“We knew that it was only a matter of time that we would identify the Omicron variant in Southern Nevada,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, district health officer for SNHD.
Vaccination plays a key role in preventing the COVID-19 virus from mutating as it spreads from person to person, health officials said. They urged Nevadans to get vaccinated "as quickly as possible" and to get a booster shot when they are eligible. They also advised continued mask wearing indoors and frequent hand-washing to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The Omicron variant in Nevada is a reminder to all those who have not completed their COVID-19 vaccination series, that vaccination can protect against serious illness,” said state epidemiologist Melissa Peek-Bullock. “As the weather gets cold and we celebrate the holidays with family and friends it is imperative that we all continue to take this virus seriously and maintain the mitigation measures that we know work.”
News of Nevada's first identified case of Omicron comes as the state is marking another COVID milestone, the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccines arriving in Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak noted on Twitter.
We can help protect ourselves from variants of the COVID-19 virus by getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster when they are eligible, wearing a mask in public indoor settings, and staying home and getting tested if we are sick.
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) December 14, 2021
"I am grateful to our public health officials for their work in identifying this variant," Sisolak wrote. "NV, we know what to do."