AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday the COVID omicron variant has been detected for the first time in the state.
The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor conducted the genomic sequencing that confirmed the omicron variant from among five samples sent from Penobscot County, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Those samples were from positive PCR tests recently reported to Maine CDC.
Maine and 40 other states have reported omicron cases, the release stated.
“This news is unwelcome but not unexpected,” Gov. Janet Mills said in the release. “We knew it was only a matter of time before we detected the presence of omicron here in Maine. While we are still learning about this new variant, the take-away for Maine people should be this: get vaccinated now and wear a mask when you’re indoors in public. Whether it’s your first shot or your third shot, getting vaccinated can protect your health, keep you from getting seriously sick, and even save your life.”
“The appearance of the omicron variant reinforces the importance of taking every step we can to prevent the spread of the virus,” Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah said in the release. “That means getting vaccinated as soon as possible, getting a booster shot, and wearing a mask while in indoor public places. These steps will keep Maine people alive and out of hospitals today and in the coming weeks and months.”
This latest news comes amid a current surge of COVID cases across the state.
For more information on omicron, click here.