Omicron detected in Florida and Texas as it takes root in 25 U.S. states

Two cases of the omicron variant have been reported in Florida as of Thursday, a spokesperson for the state’s department of public health told CNBC.  

The department was notified of the first patient by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, the spokesperson said, noting that they are unable to provide details on the case. 

The hospital noted in a statement to WFLA that the patient is experiencing mild symptoms and recently traveled internationally. 

“Our providers were able to quickly detect, test, confirm and add this data to our developing understanding of this strain,” the hospital said in the statement, according to WFLA. 

The second case from St. Lucie County was reported by the state health department to the CDC, the spokesperson added. They did not provide additional details on the case.

When asked about reports of the new omicron cases at a Tuesday news briefing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would not impose lockdowns in the state. 

“In Florida, we won’t let them lock you down, we won’t let them restrict you, we’re not gonna let them impose mandates, we’re not gonna let them close the schools, we are gonna protect your freedom to make your decisions,” DeSantis told reporters. 

“And I have no problem if somebody is worried, if they’re scared of omicron and they want to lock down or they want to isolate, that is absolutely their decision in a free society, but you don’t impose Fauci-ism on the whole country or on the whole state, it’s wrong,” he continued. 

As of Thursday, Florida had a seven-day moving average of 1,873 positive tests of the virus, according to data from the CDC. This number has been rising over the past few weeks, last reaching 1,800 new cases a day on Oct. 28.