HONOLULU (KITV4) -- The coronavirus Omicron variant has been diagnosed in a patient in Hawaii, State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said.
The Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) State Laboratories Division (SLD) confirmed the Omicron diagnosis in an unvaccinated an Oahu resident who had previously been infected with COVID-19 about a year ago.
The patient had mild-to-moderate symptoms, the DOH said, including a cough, body aches, and a headache.
“This isn’t reason for panic, but it is reason for concern. It’s a reminder the pandemic is ongoing. We need to protect ourselves by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, distancing as best we can and avoiding large crowds,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP.
Health officials say this is a case of community spread and the patient has had no recent history of travel. That person is currently isolating at home, health officials said. No other information about the patient has been released.
The Omicron variant has been detected in multiple US states after first being detected in California on Dec. 1.
Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine, the Associated Press reports.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi issued the following statement on the Omicron variant being detected on Oahu:
“The State of Hawaii Department of Health has confirmed the first positive case of Omicron on Oahu. While it is concerning, it is not necessarily surprising based on our prior briefings with health officials. We will continue to work with the experts to learn more about this variant. We have gone through an arduous journey and pulled through the most difficult times because our communities and people have responded beautifully. We will respond when we have the facts. In the meantime, we continue to encourage vaccinations, boosters and getting our keiki vaccinated.”