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Coconino County health officials confirm first known case of Omicron variant

A 3D-generated image of the variant of concern known as omicron. The little bumps are spike proteins (see definition below).
Uma Shankar Sharma/Getty Images
A 3D-generated image of the variant of concern known as omicron. The little bumps are spike proteins (see definition below).

Coconino County Health officials have confirmed the county’s first COVID-19 case involving the Omicron variant. They say the Flagstaff area resident is recovering at home in isolation.

Coconino Country Health and Human Services director Kim Musselman released a statement Thursday saying, "This is confirmation that the Omicron variant is here in our community, and we can anticipate additional cases in the coming days and weeks”.

Health officials in Pima County have also confirmed the first known case of the Omicron variant. The person initially tested positive in Tucson in early December.

Genetic sequencing of the sample indicated the Omicron variant, which was verified in the past 24 hours by the state Department of Health Services.

The variant was has already been found in cases in Maricopa, Yavapai and Coconino counties. Health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated, get a booster and mask up in public. Regardless of vaccination status, they say if you develop symptoms to get tested immediately and isolate.

Meanwhile, Arizona is committing millions of dollars and asking the federal government for extra help as hospitals face a growing strain from rising COVID-19 caseloads and warn they are nearing their limits.

Gov. Doug Ducey earmarked another $35 million aimed at helping hospitals staff their existing beds and discharge patients more quickly.