First omicron coronavirus variant case reported in NC

Published 9:28 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Health officials reported North Carolina’s first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus on Friday.

A student at University of North Carolina Charlotte tested positive for the variant, according to Mecklenburg County health officials. The case was identified though the university’s sequencing program, officials said in a news release. The student was isolated and has recovered, officials said. Exposure was limited with only one known contact.

This case is the only report of the omicron variant that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has received, spokeswoman Kelly Haight Connor said in an email Friday.

The World Health Organization has classified omicron as a “variant of concern” and it has now been found in several states. Scientists are working to determine how it may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.

More than 40 people in the U.S. have been found to be infected with the omicron variant so far, and more than three-quarters of them had been vaccinated, but nearly all of them were only mildly ill, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told The Associated Press this week.