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Michigan health officials confirm state's first case of omicron variant

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

Michigan health officials have identified the state’s first case of the omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The case was discovered in Kent County. State health officials are trying to determine if the adult patient traveled outside the state of Michigan.

The initial detection was reported to the Michigan Disease Surveillance System on December 3. On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control informed the state health department that genetic sequencing confirmed it was indeed the omicron variant.

The omicron variant was first detected last month in South Africa. The first case in the U.S. was confirmed December 1.

Michigan joins the list of more than 20 other states with confirmed omicron cases.

The CDC expects that anyone infected with omicron can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the recent emergence of omicron further emphasizes the importance of primary vaccinations and boosters.

“We have tools that prevent the spread of COVID-19, including omicron. However, we continue to see that those not utilizing these tools, including vaccines, are disproportionately affected by this virus,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.