PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia health officials say the first confirmed case of the new COVID-19 omicron variant has been identified in the city. Officials say a male resident in his 30’s from Northwest Philadelphia has tested positive for the omicron variant.
The health department is working to get more information regarding the case and is working with the state health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The city says they were first notified of this through the state and the health commissioner says they believe there may be more cases out there.
“It is not unexpected that we would see omicron here in Philadelphia,” Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said. “Just because there is a case of this new variant here does not mean it’s too late to take precautions. There are things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. This is not like when we first saw COVID cases. We know what works, and we’ve been doing a great job doing those things.”
The omicron variant is said to be a more transmissible variant of the virus.
Health officials say it was first detected in South Africa.
Health officials are urging unvaccinated Philadelphia residents to get vaccinated and vaccinated residents to get their booster shots, continue to mask up, social distance and avoid large indoor gatherings.
“Omicron is not something we wanted to have to deal with, but Philadelphia has shown that, by continuing to do these simple acts, we protect each other,” Bettigole said. “Now is the time to start thinking about how our actions can affect those we love around us.”
Today, @PHLPublicHealth announced the 1st case of COVID-19 Omicron variant identified in Philadelphia. A new variant means that we have to stay vigilant about protecting ourselves and others—get your vaccine or booster, #MaskUpPHL & take extra precautions. https://t.co/xVteKWnU0q
— Jim #VaxUpPhilly Kenney (@PhillyMayor) December 3, 2021
“Since the discovery of this new variant, we have been preparing for the likelihood of an omicron case in Philadelphia,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “A new variant, especially one that may be more transmissible, means that we have to stay vigilant about taking steps to protect ourselves and everyone around us. I know that this news is especially discouraging as we enter the holiday season, but we can get through this together.”
The omicron variant has also been confirmed in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy says a fully vaccinated woman from Georgia has tested positive.
We have confirmed our first case of the Omicron variant in New Jersey.
There is no reason for alarm, but it is vital that residents remain as vigilant as possible.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 4, 2021
Murphy says the woman recently traveled to South Africa.
She is currently in isolation and experienced moderate symptoms.
CBS3’s Jasmine Payoute contributed to this report.