Omicron variant detected in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health announced Saturday the state’s first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

The case was identified through ongoing genomic surveillance run by RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories.

The Rhode Islander who tested positive is a person in their 20s who lives in Providence County, and recently traveled to New York, according to RIDOH.

“The individual completed a primary vaccination series and had no record of a booster shot. Contact tracing on this case is ongoing,” officials said in a release.

On Friday, Governor McKee said he will be announcing ‘actions’ early next week to “address the increased number of COVID-19 cases and alleviate pressures on our hospital systems while at the same time keeping our schools open for in-person learning and preventing economic disruptions to our small businesses.”

The actions focus on vaccination, testing, masking, and staffing capacity.

“We fully expected that Omicron would eventually be detected in Rhode Island as it has been in our neighboring states. I want to be clear: Rhode Island is prepared. This is not cause for panic,” said Governor McKee in a statement Saturday.

“Just like when the Delta variant was identified in Rhode Island, Rhode Islanders will come together to take the actions necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones. We know the best way to protect ourselves from Delta, Omicron or any other variant is to get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested and consider wearing a mask in crowded public places. I want to thank the staff at our State Health Lab who have been working diligently to sequence more test results than ever before. Together, we can keep each other safe and healthy throughout the holiday season.”

Details on variant data can be found on the Department of Health’s website.
Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island, Your Health