Three cases of omicron variant found in Washington state

Dec 4, 2021, 5:32 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2021, 12:07 pm
Dept. of Health's Dr. Umair Shah addresses the media Saturday night to explain three cases of Omicron discovered in Washington state.

The Washington State Department of Health has confirmed there are three cases of omicron variant of COVID-19 in Washington state.

Where you can get vaccinated

The cases include two men and one women, ages range from 29-39.

The patients are: a man in his late 30s from Thurston County; a man in his late 20s from Pierce County; and a woman in her late 20s from King County

It’s not yet known the travel histories, nor the vaccination status of these three individuals. Samples were collected between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1.

“We knew that it was a matter of time before omicron was sequenced in our state and so we were anticipating this very news,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, state secretary of health, in a news release. “We strongly urge people to get vaccinated and get their boosters as soon as possible to maximize their level of protection from any variant.”

The DOH says lab specialists have been looking for omicron through PCR testing and genomic sequencing. The state increased its lab capacity to help detect new and existing variants. It says it expects more cases will be discovered in Washington state in the future.

As for behaviors, health officials maintain that the most powerful tool we have are vaccinations.

“We don’t have any restrictions or lockdowns currently,” Dr. Shah said.

He said they want people to go about their day safely, and that means using caution by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance, getting vaccinated, and getting tested if you have any COVID symptoms.

“We do not have plans for anything more than that,” Shah said. “We can never say never, but at the same time, there are no plans for that.”

“Even with a highly mutated virus like omicron, we are not going back to square one of the pandemic,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer with Public Health – Seattle & King County in a news release. “Omicron may pose new challenges that we will need to respond to, but compared to the early days of the pandemic, we know much more about COVID-19, and we’re better prepared for it. We know layered protections work together to maximally reduce risk, and that will continue to be the case for delta and for omicron if that becomes a dominant strain circulating in our community.”

Everything you need to know about King County’s vaccine requirements

King County Executive Dow Constantine released a statement: “Health leaders from around the country and around the world are studying this new variant, and I’m confident we’ll know soon if there are any additional precautions people should take. As families get ready to gather for the holidays, take the time to get vaccinated now to give you and your family the best protection against COVID.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan released a statement Saturday night. It reads, in part:

“In the coming days and weeks, we will learn more about the transmission and severity of Omicron from the scientists and researchers, but here’s what we know: vaccines work, boosters are key, and testing remains critical. We should continue to wear masks at indoor gatherings, remember to wash our hands frequently, understand the risks of crowded indoor spaces and stay home and away from others if you have symptoms.

“In Seattle, we’ve launched efforts to deliver tens of thousands of booster shots and pediatric shots before the holidays and are working with our partners to make more appointments available. We continue to have easy, fast, and accessible testing through our partnerships with UW Medicine and Curative. While all of us want the pandemic to be over, we need to all do our part to keep one another and our community safe.”

More and mores states across the country have found the newest variant, with Massachusetts and Connecticut announcing their first cases Saturday, a day after New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Maryland reported their first confirmed cases. Missouri reported its first presumed case Friday.

The variant also has been detected in Nebraska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah.

In New York, seven cases of omicron variant have been found in New York City, once a global epicenter of the pandemic, and another in Suffolk County.

Meanwhile, 10 people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship approaching New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday night. The Norwegian Breakaway departed the city on Nov. 28 and was due to return this weekend after making stops in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico in recent days, Louisiana’s health agency said. More than 3,200 people are on board. Officials did not immediately say whether the passengers had been tested for virus variants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Local News

KIRO 7 News Staff

77-year-old Bellevue woman stops home intruder in landslide neighborhood

Thieves hit the neighborhood impacted by the Bellevue landslide but didn’t get away with much, thanks to one brave 77-year-old woman.
16 hours ago
national guard...
Stephanie Klein

National Guard arrives to Harborview Medical Center to help with COVID testing

A Seattle hospital official says the arrival of 10 army soldiers on Friday is a huge help.
2 days ago
End restrictions...
Nick Bowman

UW modelers: State might finally be able to end ‘major restrictions’ once omicron wave passes

Modelers at UW's Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation believe that we could be nearing the end stages of major virus-related restrictions. 
2 days ago
Long term care insurance...
Nicole Jennings

Analyst’s advice for Washingtonians who got private long-term care insurance

An Association of Washington Business analyst explains the outlook for private long-term care insurance now that the WA Cares tax will likely be delayed.
2 days ago
COVID tests...
MyNorthwest Staff

Washington households can order at-home rapid COVID tests at no cost

The state Department of Health is going live with its portal to order free at-home COVID tests that ship directly to households.
2 days ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Bobcat watches from side of road as WSDOT crews plow SR 20 near Colville

WSDOT crews had an unexpected observer while plowing snowy roads near Colville earlier this week, with a bobcat watching them work.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Three cases of omicron variant found in Washington state