Michigan's first confirmed Omicron case detected in Kent County

MDHHS Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.png
Posted at 10:50 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 09:50:06-05

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — The first person to test positive for COVID-19 variant Omicron is in Kent County.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the person tested positive for the virus on Dec. 3 but it took the lab until Dec. 9 to confirm the new variant. 

Region 6 Medical Director Jerry Evans knew it was a matter of time until this variant popped up in Michigan.

"It's no doubt that this is going to be all over the place," Evans told FOX 17. 

The medical director oversees and coordinates with the coalition of hospitals and EMS agencies in our 13 counties in West Michigan.

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"It seems to be moving very rapidly across the world. Europe has it. Canada's had it for a little bit. Now we've got it," he said.

Researchers around the world are scrambling to learn more about Omicron. A lot of the data we have now is still new. The information could develop as more research is done, but this is what he knows now, Evans said.

"The data that we do have so far would indicate that Omicron seems to be more contagious but perhaps less severe illness in most cases," he said.

This is what we've learned about the first confirmed case in Michigan.

In a press release from MDHHS, the person infected with the new variant is an adult from Kent County. According to the health systems records, they did get a COVID-19 vaccine but didn't get a booster.

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"Here in West Michigan, with a Delta variant, if you've had the two vaccine series, your chances of getting hospitalized are much less than if you didn't get vaccinated or if you're partially vaccinated. We're hopeful that that will be the exact same case with the Omicron variant," Evans said.

According to health experts, Omicron made its way to the U.S. on Dec. 1 and spread to 20 other states. This all comes as hospitals across Michigan are still at war with the Delta variant.

"We're going to move our patient waiting room to a different location. So that's what all of our hospitals, all of our major hospitals are doing this. They're building out. They're trying to find places to put people because we don't have the room for people right now. There's so many patients," Evans said.

Health officials still encourage anyone over the age of 5 to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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