Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in Massachusetts

BOSTON — A new variant of COVID-19 that first emerged in South Africa has been detected in Massachusetts, health officials confirm.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Saturday that genetic sequencing has identified the COVID-19 Omicron variant for the first time in a case in Massachusetts.

The individual is a female in her 20s and a resident of Middlesex County who traveled out of state. She is fully vaccinated, has experienced mild disease, and did not require hospitalization, officials said.

The variant was identified through sequencing performed at New England Biolabs.

The World Health Organization started monitoring the omicron variant – that has more than 50 mutations – the week of Thanksgiving.

Those variations, or mutations, are concerning to scientists who believe the omicron variant could be more easily transmitted.

So far, symptoms reported are fatigue, body aches, a sore throat and cough.

Doctors are working to learn more about it, including how the current COVID-19 vaccine responds to it.

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