By CBSMiami.com Team

TAMPA (CBSMiami) — The COVID-19 Omicron variant has officially arrived in Florida. The first case was detected at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa.

Kimberly Antos, a spokesperson for the hospital said, “The patient is experiencing mild symptoms and had recently returned from international travel.” She added, “It is critical for people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. While no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing illness, the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. provide excellent protection against the COVID-19 variants that have caused surges in the United States so far and are particularly effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19.”

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The B.1.1.529 Omicron variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa in mid-November. Since then, it’s spread rapidly in South Africa and has been found in multiple countries around the world and at least 20 states in the country.

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Despite the recent focus on the Omicron variant, the White House COVID-19 Response Team said Tuesday the Delta variant continues to be the most prevalent in the U.S.

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“We must act together in this moment to address the impact of the current cases we are seeing, which is largely Delta, and prepare ourselves with the possibility of more Omicron. We must act in this moment to mobilize together to do what we know works. We have months of study and all those data show that vaccines work, testing works, masking works and that ventilation works,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “While we’re still working to understand severity of Omicron and how it responds to therapeutics and vaccines, we anticipate all the same measures will at least in part provide some protection against Omicron. So, if you are not vaccinated, this means getting vaccinated. If you are eligible to be boosted and you’re not boosted, this also means getting boosted. Along with wearing a mask in indoor public settings, frequently washing your hands, improving ventilation, physical distancing and increased testing to slow transmission of this virus.”

CBSMiami.com Team