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First Omicron Variant Cases Detected in Allegheny County

The first two cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been detected in Allegheny County residents, officials announced on Thursday. County officials said the first, from a specimen collected from a man on Dec. 7, was confirmed to be the omicron variant on Dec. 22.

The second case, also found in a man, was from a specimen collected on Dec. 13 and was confirmed to be the omicron variant on Dec. 23. During the county’s COVID-19 news briefing on Wednesday, officials said evidence of the omicron variant had been found in wastewater samples.

First Omicron Variant Cases Detected in Allegheny CountyHealth Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said Wednesday that the Omicron is highly contagious and is causing daily cases to rapidly increase in other parts of the country and world during the county’s regular COVID briefing.  They also added that they expect we will see a rapid rise in the omicron variant in our county in the coming days to weeks.

Bogen continues to urge people to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and getting tested when symptoms set in. Officials said the Allegheny County Health Department uses wastewater surveillance to track the spread of COVID-19 and variants such as omicron. SARS-CoV2 virus in wastewater can be a leading indicator of a case surge and can be used to track new variants.

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