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Maricopa County detects first cases of omicron variant

Virus Outbreak Variant
Posted at 10:39 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 00:39:14-05

PHOENIX — Maricopa County officials announced Monday they have identified its first COVID-19 cases of the omicron variant in six people.

Three separate clusters of cases were found that include adults ranging from late teens to their 60s with no previous travel history, officials say.

No serious illness has been reported and no one has been hospitalized from the reported omicron variant cases.

All six people are at home in isolation and recovering.

State health officials reported the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 omicron variant in Arizona last week, with that case being located in Yavapai County.

"With these six cases confirmed and with no travel history, it's clear that the Omicron variant is here in our community and spreading," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Medical Director for Disease Control. "We know that COVID-19 vaccines have remained highly effective at preventing serious illness and death, even when new strains develop. That's why it's critical that all eligible residents get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible and take other precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe."

U.S. health officials have said that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading in the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations.

County officials are recommending both the use of the COVID-19 vaccine and wearing a mask indoor public spaces and crowds, limiting large gatherings, washing hands frequently, practicing physical distancing, and getting tested if exposed or if symptoms develop, can help prevent further spread.

Anyone who develops symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should get tested immediately and start isolating.

The CDC recommends that everyone 18 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at least six months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Teens of ages 16-17 can get a Pfizer vaccine booster at least six months after having received their second dose.

COVID-19 vaccines and testing are free and you do not need an ID or health insurance to get them, officials said.

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