A second case of the new COVID-19 omicron variant has been detected in Utah.
It’s a Utah County man between 25 and 44 years old who is infected with the new variant that was initially identified late last month in South Africa, according to the Utah Department of Health.
He was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but had not received a booster shot, state health department spokeswoman Charla Haley said. Contact tracers have been unable to reach the man for further details, including where he may have traveled, she said.
It is not known if the case is related to Utah’s first known omicron patient, announced Friday and identified only as an older adult living within the Southwest Utah Public Health Department who had recently returned from South Africa, Haley said.
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department covers Washington, Beaver, Garfield, Iron and Kane counties.
That patient was also fully vaccinated against the virus, the state health department said, had been treated with monoclonal antibodies and was isolating at home while recovering from mild symptoms.
State epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen told reporters Friday the patient had “very limited contact” only with household members since arriving back in Utah. She said the patient’s traveling companions and family members had all tested negative for the virus.
“We’ve been able to identify all the people who would be at high risk of exposure,” Nolen said. She said they’ve been told “they need to stay at home and monitor themselves for symptoms so that we can really help prevent this from spreading onward.”
The patient, contacted by state health department because they’d been in South Africa, had gotten tested for COVID-19 soon after returning to Utah. The variant was detected by the Utah Public Health Laboratory, which sequences up to 3,100 test results weekly.
Little is known for sure about the omicron variant, believed to be more transmissible than the highly contagious delta variant responsible for the ongoing surge of cases in Utah and other states.
So far, the omicron variant has been found in 20 states according to the New York Times.