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Tallahassee Memorial confirms the first COVID-19 Omicron cases in Leon County

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Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media

(This statement was released by Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare on the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 21.)

"Throughout the pandemic, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) has utilized the TMH-FSU Rapid Response Laboratory, under the direction of FSU’s Dr. Jonathan Dennis, to monitor the COVID-19 variants present in our community. Today, December 21, the lab reported that six cases of the Omicron variant were detected in tests processed by the lab in December, officially confirming the presence of the variant in Leon County. While we do not yet know whether the Omicron variant will lead to an increase in hospitalizations in our community, TMH is equipped to care for these patients just as we have with other variants throughout the pandemic.

Early indications show the Omicron variant is much more transmissible than the Delta variant and there is speculation those infected with Omicron may experience milder symptoms than with the other variants. Preliminary findings also indicate that individuals who have been vaccinated and receive the booster maintain adequate protection against the Omicron variant to prevent severe illness and death. It is imperative that individuals who have not been vaccinated get vaccinated and that those who are in the timeframe to receive a booster do so as well.

As we enter the holiday season, we highly encourage everyone to remain diligent about hand washing, remain isolated if you are sick, mask if you are in large groups of individuals who are unvaccinated and if you must engage with them in close quarters. If you are traveling, please take a moment to review the CDC website and understand the level of COVID activity occurring in the locations you will be visiting."

Stephanie Derzypolski, VP & Chief Communications Officer at TMH.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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