The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced Saturday afternoon that it has confirmed the first three cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the state.

According to the DOH, which was helped by the UW Medicine Virology Lab, cases of the variant were found in three separate counties:

  • a man in his thirties from Thurston County
  • a man in his twenties from Pierce County, and
  • a woman in her twenties from King County

The conditions of all three are unknown.

Health officials had been expecting the variant to make its way to Washington State at some point and are stressing that the emergence of Omicron will not send the state back to square one of the pandemic. They continue to push vaccinations as the primary way to slow the spread of the less-understood variant.

Governor Jay Inslee released a statement after the confirmed cases were announced. The full statement is as follows:

"We knew this day was inevitable, but the good news is we have more tools at our disposal to fight the virus than at any previous point in the pandemic, and we must continue to protect ourselves and our communities.

"There is still much to learn about this variant as scientists around the world continue to study it. It remains as important as ever to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask and be safe. We cannot yield an inch to this virus.

"Be vigilant for any symptoms – such as fever or fatigue – and mask up in public settings. We all have the power to keep our communities safe."

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