CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — On Thursday, West Virginia joined 36 other states in the U.S. that have the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The variant was first detected in South Africa, but it’s now is quickly spreading across the globe.
According to the West Virginia DHHR, the first case of the Omicron variant detected in West Virginia was in Marion County from an unvaccinated individual.
It was announced midway into the Governor’s press briefing Thursday.
“You know I just got a note that Clay has an announcement on the Omicron virus is that correct? You know, do you want to do that now?,” asked Governor Justice.
“We just immediately received notification from the Centers for Disease Control that in their surveillance of West Virginia has identified a single-case of the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s COVID-19 Czar.
Dr. Marsh says now is the time to be cautious and get that booster shot.
He also encourages rapid tests among family members during holiday gatherings.
“We know that having vaccine in you, being fully vaccinated does give you protection against Omicron but only at about a 73% rate as opposed to a 93% rate, and that’s the reason why boosting is so important for people who are eligible for boosts,” he said.
Dr. Sherri Young, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s Health Officer, says it’s not surprising that the variant made its way here.
“Now that we know that we have the variant, and what we’re learning with it being more contagious, we need to be even more careful than we were with the Delta variant,” she said.
Still, she says it’s not quite time to sound the alarm as we’re still learning how it affects people.
“In some preliminary reports, it actually says it may not be as bad if you are otherwise healthy and vaccinated,” she said.