This electron microscope image made available and color-enhanced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md., shows Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient. Putting an end to the COVID-19 pandemic will mean priming the immune systems of everyone on Earth but the virus is mutating and could take years to "settle down," says an expert. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/National Institutes of Health

State detects 1st omicron case in Anchorage resident

The person had previously tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling internationally in November

The state reported on Monday its first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The case was identified through sequencing performed at the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory, according to Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The person had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in November after traveling internationally, according to the state health department.

Alaska joins at least 30 other states and 60 nations in detecting the variant first identified in South Africa, according to the department.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

— The variant will likely spread more easily than the original strain of COVID-19

— More data is needed to know if the variant causes more severe illness or death than other variants

— Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths; however, breakthrough infections are likely to occur.

— Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 will work.

The CDC recommends vaccination, masking and testing to help curb spread of the omicron variant.

In Juneau, people can register for COVID-19 testing online through https://juneau.org/covid-19 or by calling (907)586-6000.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

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