Florida veterans’ hospital confirms state’s first omicron COVID-19 case

TAMPA, Fla. — A veterans’ hospital in Tampa said it has detected the first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant in Florida.

Officials from the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital said the patient is experiencing mild symptoms and had recently returned from international travel.

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“Our providers were able to quickly detect, test, confirm and add this data to our developing understanding of this strain,” a spokesperson for the hospital said.

The hospital said it is critical to get vaccinated against the virus as soon as possible, as the new variant begins to spread.

READ: Omicron concerns drive Central Florida residents to get COVID-19 vaccine boosters

“While no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing illness, the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. provide excellent protection against the COVID-19 variants that have caused surges in the United States so far and are particularly effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

According to the CDC, the omicron variant has been detected in 17 states so far, not including Florida.

READ: Crowds continue to gather in Florida as health officials keep watch for COVID-19 omicron variant

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.