COVID-19 Omicron variant found in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WITN) – The first reported case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in North Carolina has been identified in Charlotte.

UNC Charlotte announced its on-campus sequencing lab identified the presence of Omicron in the testing sample of a student who traveled out of state during the Thanksgiving break.

In a virtual press conference Friday, Richard Tankersley, UNC Charlotte’s vice chancellor for research, said the student lives on campus, and that they were tested soon after returning from out of state. The student was vaccinated, and while symptomatic, their symptoms were mild. They were not hospitalized at all.

UNC Charlotte says the student has since recovered from their symptoms and all close contacts were notified through the university’s contact tracing protocols.

The school says no other positive cases have been identified.

Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County public health director, noted that the Omicron variant could have already been present in North Carolina with this student’s case just being the first one detected.

Furthermore, Harris believes cases of Omicron will go up as the variant continues to spread. “I would assume we are going to see more,” Harris said.

Harris and Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County Health Department deputy health director, urge people that getting vaccinated, washing hands, and wearing masks are the best defenses against catching COVID-19.

UNC Charlotte’s update can be found here.

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