Media availability: Virtual availability with Dr. Sunenshine will be from 3pm-4:30pm today, Dec. 13. Call to schedule.
Media contact: Courtney Kreuzwiesner firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-540-5473
PHOENIX (December 13, 2021) – Maricopa County Department of Public Health has identified the County’s first COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in six individuals.
Three separate clusters of cases were identified and include adults ranging in age from late teens to their 60s with no prior international travel history. To date, no serious illness has been reported and no one has been hospitalized. All remain at home in isolation while recovering.
While health officials are still completing case investigations, the majority of cases were fully vaccinated. MCDPH is actively reaching out to all residents who were close contacts, and isolation and quarantine protocols are being followed.
“With these six cases confirmed and with no travel history, it’s clear that the Omicron variant is here in our community and spreading,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Medical Director for Disease Control. “We know that COVID-19 vaccines have remained highly effective at preventing serious illness and death, even when new strains develop. That’s why it’s critical that all eligible residents get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible and take other precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
Vaccination combined with other practices, such as wearing a mask in indoor public spaces and crowds, limiting large gatherings, washing hands frequently, practicing physical distancing, and getting tested if exposed or if symptoms develop, can help prevent further spread. Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, who develops symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate.
Everyone ages 5 and up can receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the CDC now recommends that everyone 18 and older receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after a dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Teens 16–17 years old can get a Pfizer vaccine booster at least six months after having received their second dose.
COVID-19 vaccines and testing are free, and you do not need an ID or health insurance to get one. To find a location near you, visit Maricopa.gov/COVID19 or call (602) 506-6767.