Cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant are reported to have hit Florida. The cases come at a time when the state is considered the state with the lowest cases and hospitalizations in the country, and it comes after states like California and Colorado reported cases.
The country has closely watched the spread of the omicron variant, and President Joe Biden (D) recently argued that a national lockdown was not on the table “for now.”
Weesam Khoury, the spokeswoman for the Health Department, issued a statement, saying that the Health Department “has conducted genomic sequencing and maintains surveillance of emerging variants in Florida.”
“As a result of these continuous and diligent efforts, the Department quickly identified a presumptive case of the omicron variant in Florida,” Khoury added in reference to an omicron case in Tampa.
According to local news media, the case was reported by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, and a statement to the USA TODAY Network-Florida explained how the patient was feeling as a result of being diagnosed.
“The patient is experiencing mild symptoms and had recently returned from international travel,” said a hospital spokeswoman.
The omicron variant is estimated to be three to six times as transmissible as the delta variant.
During an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor for the President, shared that “thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it” in talking about the omicron variant. However, Dr. Fauci did note that “we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness comparable to delta.”
This week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who has feuded with President Biden over the President’s response to the pandemic, took a trip to Oldsmar, Florida and reassured people that Florida would not be enacting any lockdown or other restrictions in response to the omicron variant.