PHILADELPHIA (KDKA) – The first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has been detected in Pennsylvania.
A man in his 30s tested positive for the variant, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Friday. Details were limited, but the department said it’s working to get more information on his case and coordinating with the state and CDC.READ MORE: How To Protect People, Pets And Pipes During A Deep Freeze
Cases have now been identified in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York, but the Philadelphia Department of Health said so far all reported symptoms have been mild.
The new variant hasn’t been reported in the Pittsburgh area yet, but Allegheny County health officials have said while much is still unknown, they’re closely monitoring the scientific data and news.READ MORE: Mysterious Disappearance Of 70-Year-Old Janet Walsh From Shaler Remains Unsolved 2 Years Later
Hours before the news broke, UPMC Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Dr. Graham Synder said he wouldn’t have been surprised if Omicron was already in Pennsylvania, though Delta is still the dominant strain. Snyder says UPMC has a lab that can sequence and identify a specific type of virus.
“We are in the process of trying to start tracking, so we are going to start looking at the tests that are coming in,” Dr. Brian Lamb, a primary care internist at AHN, said. “We’ve done this before with Delta where we take batches of tests and run it through and see what variant it is.”MORE NEWS: CeaseFirePA Holds Meeting To Address Community Violence In Pittsburgh Area
Doctors said what they do know is that masking, social distancing and getting vaccinated still help stop the virus’ spread.