coronavirus

Where the Omicron Variant Has Arrived in New England

Two states have reported omicron variant cases so far, and U.S. health officials have said that omicron is likely to spread further

NBC Universal, Inc.

Massachusetts announced its first case Saturday afternoon, with Connecticut making its announcement later Saturday night. Both cases were in fully vaccinated people and involved travel out of state.

The omicron variant of COVID-19, first detected in South Africa, has made its way to the United States.

After it was initially discovered stateside in California, the variant has now been detected in some parts of New England. U.S. health officials have said that omicron is likely to spread to more states, as well.

It remains unclear whether or not omicron causes more severe illness than the variant that's currently dominant, the delta variant.

Evidence has shown omicron to be more transmissible than other COVID variants, and it's been labeled a "variant of concern" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, but the Department of Public Health noted Saturday that "scientists are still working to determine how it may compare with the predominant Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and disease severity."

Dr. Michael Misialek of Newton-Wellesley Hospital joins Jeff Saperstone to discuss the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Here's a look at the state of affairs in New England state thus far:

Massachusetts

The variant was first detected in Massachusetts on Saturday by New England Biolabs in a fully vaccinated woman in her 20s from Middlesex County, health officials said. It was unclear if she'd also received a booster shot.

The woman, who'd recently traveled out of state, reported mild symptoms, according to state health officials.

Connecticut

Like in Massachusetts, the first known case of the omicron variant to appear in Connecticut was announced Saturday in a fully vaccinated person, a man in his 60s from Hartford County. The case was confirmed by the Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory.

A fully vaccinated family member of the man, who'd recently traveled to New York City, also tested positive for COVID-19. Both patients recovered after exhibiting mild systems.

New Hampshire is dealing with the highest new case rate in the country right now. Residents say a lot of people are just starting to get way too comfortable.

New Hampshire

No cases of the variant have been confirmed yet in the Granite State. However, New Hampshire had the highest overall COVID case rate in the country this week; through Thursday, the state's seven-day positivity rate had risen to 13.4%.

No cases of the variant have yet been announced in Maine, Rhode Island or Vermont.