(WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is reporting its first confirmed case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the Commonwealth.

Health officials say an adult in the Northwest Region of Virginia has tested positive for the variant. They state that this person has a history of traveling during the exposure period.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we would record our first Omicron infection in the Commonwealth,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “This drives home the challenge the COVID-19 virus presents to the world as the virus changes and mutates over time. Scientists are hard at work studying the newly identified variant to understand how easily it spreads and how sick it makes people. Right now, the highly transmissible Delta variant is causing almost all cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. We have very effective vaccines that can interrupt the chain of transmission and reduce the odds that unpredictable mutations like the Delta and Omicron variants will emerge. Do your part. Get vaccinated if you are eligible. Get your booster shot if you’re eligible. Vaccination is how Virginia, the U.S., and the world will put this pandemic behind us.”

Officials say that a lab identified the variant in a sample from a Virginia resident and notified VDH. They believe more cases of the variants will be identified.

Health officials have identified the Omicron variant back in November in Botswana and South Africa and say it is may spread more easily. The variant has been identified in 21 other U.S. states or jurisdictions.

For more information about COVID-19 variants, visit the VDH website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

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