The woman, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive on Sunday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press release. Gene sequencing has since confirmed that she has the omicron variant. She sought care for moderate symptoms at an emergency room and is recovering and remaining in isolation, officials said.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said the woman was in Georgia for two days between arriving from South Africa and traveling onward to New Jersey.
"The Omicron variant is among us and we need to take steps to stop its spread. It is vital that residents remain as vigilant as possible as we await more information about the variant," Murphy said in a statement. "Vaccinations and mask wearing have proven to be an effective tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and I urge everyone ages 18 and over to receive a booster."
"We are still learning about the Omicron variant, but we have tools to stop the spread of the virus, most important among them is to get vaccinated and get a booster dose," New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a statement. "The public should continue to mask up, get tested if they have symptoms, physically distance, avoid crowded events, stay home when sick and wash hands frequently."
This colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a cell (blue) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (green). SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. (Courtesy of NIAID/NIH)
Georgia officials said contact tracing was being done in both Georgia and New Jersey. They said no additional cases have been found so far in Georgia.
New COVID-19 cases in South Africa, which first alerted the world to omicron last week, have burgeoned from about 200 a day in mid-November to more than 16,000 on Friday.
CDC Science Brief Excerpt
Currently, it is unknown how efficiently the Omicron variant can spread from person to person. The replacement of Delta by Omicron as the predominant variant in South Africa raises concerns that the Omicron variant may be more transmissible than Delta, but due to the low number of cases in South Africa when Omicron emerged, it is unclear if this variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant. Further, the relatively small number of cases documented to date makes it difficult to estimate transmissibility. Analysis of the changes in the spike protein indicate that the Omicron variant is likely to have increased transmission compared to the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but it is difficult to infer if it is more transmissible than Delta. [Source: CDC.gov]
The CDC has issued new guidance on international travel.
With The Associated Press.