The Massachusetts Department of Public Health [DPH] announced on Saturday, December 4, that genetic sequencing identified the COVID-19 Omicron variant for the first time in a case in Massachusetts.
The individual is a woman in her 20s and a resident of Middlesex County who traveled out of state. The woman experienced mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization classify Omicron as a variant of concern. Scientists have yet to determine how it may compare with the predominant Delta variant in levels of transmissibility and disease severity.
DPH says that the limited evidence available suggests Omicron may be more transmissible and create a higher level of disease severity.
Public health authorities across the world are monitoring the Omicron Variant. More information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
COVID-19 vaccination is highly protective against known variants and remains the single most effective way for individuals to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community from COVID-19. Vaccination is free and requires no ID or insurance to receive. Visit the VaxFinder website to locate a vaccination location,
Other public health prevention measures that help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants include: getting tested and staying home if you are sick, frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, following masking requirements, and telling your close contacts if you test positive for COVID-19 so they can take appropriate steps. To learn more about protecting yourself from COVID-19, visit mass.gov/covidvaccine.