2 confirmed omicron cases in Florida

The newest variant of COVID-19 has already made its way to the sunshine state. There are two confirmed omicron cases in Florida.

The first case was discovered at James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa. A spokesperson for the hospital says the patient had recently traveled internationally and that their case is mild.

The Florida Surgeon General told WINK News that the second case was from a person who had a travel history that suggested that they could be carrying omicron. That case was detected in St. Lucie County.

The state only has two confirmed cases for now, but doctors do expect omicron to make its way to Southwest Florida. However, they don’t think this is something to panic about.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard is with Gulf Coast Direct Primary Care. “So no need to panic, something to watch, certainly,” Dr. Bernard said.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo says doctors are still trying to determine how dangerous it could become.

“It’s not clear exactly whether it’s comparable or even maybe lower in terms of the severity,” Ladapo said. “The transmissibility of it is another item that we’re clarifying scientifically.”

When asked what he would recommend for those concerned about omicron appearing in Florida, Ladapo had this to say. “So our approach with vaccination and other measures has been… has been access and education,” said Ladapo.

Dr. LAdapo is urging people to check out the state website. It shows people things such as where to get vaccines and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, among other things.

But, Dr. Bernard believes that getting the vaccine is the way to stop the virus from mutating more. “It seems like the vaccine is going to be effective, certainly in decreasing severe disease, and hopefully also just in generally decreasing the chance of transmitting the virus,” said Bernard.

Ladapo wants to add that if we “continue living life,” “we are ready.”

WINK News also wanted to know if contracting omicron would be something patients would be able to feel a difference in. For now, Dr. Ladapo says since the number of people who have a confirmed case of the omicron variant is so low, it is difficult to tell.

However, both doctors encourage people to take good care of their health in general as flu season ramps up.

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:Drew Hill
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