Coronavirus Omicron variant
Coronavirus Omicron variant iStock

Colorado health officials on Thursday reported that the third confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the US has been detected in their state.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said in a statement quoted by The Hill that it has confirmed the first Omicron case in Colorado.

"The case was identified in an adult female resident of Arapahoe County who had recently traveled to Southern Africa for tourism," the CDPHE said. "She is experiencing minor symptoms and is isolated and recuperating at home. She had been fully vaccinated and was eligible for the booster vaccine but had not received it yet."

On Wednesday, the US reported its first identified case of the Omicron variant in California. A second case was later confirmed in Minnesota.

Colorado State Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said in a press conference on Thursday that the infected resident had followed public health guidelines when traveling, such as wearing a mask.

According to Herlihy, whole genome sequencing of the woman's test was completed Thursday morning. Close contacts of the resident have so far tested negative.

Herlihy told reporters that the infected Colorado resident travelled through numerous countries in Africa and returned to Colorado late last week. At the time of her return, she was not symptomatic.

The case discovered in California was that of a San Francisco resident who was fully vaccinated and had recently travelled to southern Africa.

In Minnesota, a fully vaccinated adult man was confirmed to have tested positive for the omicron variant on Thursday. The Minnesota man's mild symptoms had resolved by the time he got tested for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that it is too early to know whether the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will lead to severe disease, adding that preliminary information from South Africa indicates it does not result in unusual symptoms.

President Joe Biden said on Monday that the newly discovered Omicron variant “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we're learning more every single day. And we'll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion. We have more tools today to fight the variant than we've ever had before,” he added.

Later on Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new guidance recommending booster shots for all vaccinated people 18 and older.