Alaska reports its first case of omicron variant

a scientist as seen through lab shelves
Will George, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Anchorage, is part of a team of scientists led by professor Eric Bortz, studying COVID-19 variants. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska has identified its first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Anchorage Health Department announced the case in a statement late Monday afternoon.

The department said the variant was found in an Anchorage resident who got tested following international travel in November. The case was identified Monday through genomic sequencing at the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory, according to the statement. 

Alaska joins at least 30 other U.S. states that have confirmed cases of the omicron variant.

The variant was first detected in November in South Africa, and has since spread to over 70 countries.

There’s still a lot unknown about omicron. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control say the variant will likely spread faster than the original coronavirus strain, but they are unsure how quickly it spreads compared to the highly-contagious delta variant.

City and state health officials are advising that Alaskans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and get their booster shots if eligible, plus they’re encouraging masking, handwashing, physical distancing and testing.

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Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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