Reno, Sparks Nev. Dec. 20, 2021. The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) has confirmed the first case with the COVID-19 Omicron Variant in Washoe County.

The individual who tested positive for this variant is a male in his early 50s, fully vaccinated and received a booster. He had both international and domestic air travel as likely source of exposure. The individual is recovering and isolating at home.

“As we mentioned before it was only a matter of time before we identified this variant in Washoe County,” said Kevin Dick, District Health Officer. “The best form of protection residents can take against all variants is getting fully vaccinated and receiving a booster. It is also imperative, especially now with the cold weather and holiday gatherings, that they continue taking safety precautions such as staying home and getting tested if they feel sick and wearing a mask indoors in public.”

The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) also urges residents to implement consistent mask wearing, handwashing and isolate if tested positive for COVID-19 or waiting for results to avoid getting others sick.

“Variants develop when the virus has the opportunity to spread from person to person,” explained Dr. Nancy Diao, WCHD Director of Epidemiology. “Which is why vaccines and other preventive measures are so important in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 and slowing the rate of new variants developing.”

The World Health Organization named Omicron and classified it as a Variant of Concern on November 26, 2021.

This is the first case reported in Washoe County, the first case in Nevada was reported in Clark County.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to help prevent people from contracting, being hospitalized from, and dying from COVID-19. Those who are fully vaccinated can contract the virus, but the symptoms are usually not as severe and fully vaccinated persons typically recover from illness faster. The COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for anyone 5 years and older. Those who are 16 years and older are encouraged to get a COVID-19 booster to strengthen their protection two months after receiving the Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their initial series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

To get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, visit http://www.vaccines.gov. You can also find a community vaccine event here.

The COVID-19 Regional Information Center is working together to deliver COVID-19 community updates in a unified manner. While press releases are only sent periodically for significant events, you can always get daily results on our website, https://covid19washoe.com/, our COVID-19 Dashboard or by following us on Twitter @COVID19Washoe. The entities include: City of Reno, City of Sparks, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Regional Transportation Commission, REMSA, Reno Sparks Indian Colony, Reno Police Department, Reno Fire Department, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, University of Nevada, Reno, Washoe County, Washoe County Health District, Washoe County School District and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. Also in the group are Community Health Alliance and the area hospitals, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Renown Health and Saint Mary’s.