2 cases of omicron variant of COVID-19 found in Ohio

COLUMBUS (AP) — Health officials in Ohio say two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state.

The Ohio Department of Health said the presence of the new variant was confirmed following genomic sequencing at the Ohio State University laboratory.

Officials said the two adult males in central Ohio who tested positive Dec. 7 had both received two COVID-19 vaccine doses but hadn’t gotten a booster. Both had mild symptoms that didn’t require hospitalization; neither had a history of international travel.

Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff said officials had known that “it would only be a matter of time” until the variant was detected in Ohio, and he said people shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the earlier delta variant “continues to drive cases and hospitalizations very high.”

“The hospitalizations in this Delta surge are largely being driven by unvaccinated Ohioans. Severe illness with COVID-19 is largely preventable thanks to vaccines,” he said.