First cases of Omicron variant found in Washington state; patients range from 20-39 years old

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In a bootcamp launched in January, University of Washington School of Nursing students train other UW students and faculty who hope to help with COVID-19 vaccinations. (Kiyomi Taguchi / University of Washington Photo)

Washington state has identified the first Omicron variant — three separate cases in three counties, affecting patients aged 20-39.

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The patients are two men – one from Thurston County in her thirties, and a man in her twenties from Pierce County – as well as a woman in her twenties from King County.

No information was available regarding severity of symptoms or travel history, or vaccination status of patients. Samples were collected between 29 November and 1 December.

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Washington is the 13th state to confirm the Omicron case. The variant has been spotted in 38 countries.

The variant has dozens of mutations, and some suggest it can spread rapidly and undermine protection from vaccines and natural immunity. It’s taking hold in a region of South Africa that includes Johannesburg, as cases rise, and it met As early as November 19 in Europe samples.

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Healthcare leaders said they fully expected to see the variant in Washington state, and more cases in the coming weeks.

“We urge people to get vaccinated and get their boosters as soon as possible to maximize their level of protection by any means possible,” health secretary, Omar A Shah, said in a statement.

The Washington State Department of Health worked with the UW Medicine Virology Lab to identify the variant.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said, “In the coming days and weeks, we will learn more about the transmission and severity of omicrons from scientists and researchers, but here’s what we know: Vaccines work, boosters are important, and testing is important.” Is.” a statement. “We must continue to wear masks at indoor gatherings, remember to wash our hands frequently, understand the risks of crowded indoor places, and stay home and away from others if symptoms occur.”

RELATED: COVID-19 experts answer questions about Omicron — and where the variant may have come from

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