TAMPA, Fla. — The first confirmed case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state of Florida has been reported at theJames A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.
Hospital officials confirmed the diagnosis Tuesday.
"Yes, we can confirm detection of a case of the B.1.1.529 Omicron variant. The patient is experiencing mild symptoms and had recently returned from international travel. Our providers were able to quickly detect, test, confirm and add this data to our developing understanding of this strain," the VA said in a statement to ABC Action News.
Health officials have said it was only a matter of time before the omicron variant was found in Florida. The variant was first detected in South Africa around November 21. Since then, it's spread rapidly in South Africa and has been found in multiple countries around the world and in multiple states in this country.
Researchers are still trying to determine how virulent the omicron variant is and if it is as deadly as the delta variant. Preliminary research showed the variant may be more transmissible than others, but the World Health Organization hasn't definitively said how virulent the variant has become.
Additionally, new reporting from the Guardian said scientists have discovered a "stealth" version of the omicron variant. According to the Guardian, the newer omicron variant was detected in samples from South Africa, Canada, and Australia.