Two cases of COVID-19 omicron variant identified in Shelby County

Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 11, 2021

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Shelby County Health Department reported two cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant on Saturday, the first confirmed cases in the state of Tennessee.

Shelby County Health Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said they expected the variant to appear in Tennessee, as it was already in 19 other states.

She said the department's laboratories were able to identify the cases through the method of viral DNA sequencing as part of routine surveillance.

The results, she said, indicate the variant may already be spreading in Shelby County and possibly elsewhere in the state.

Much remains unknown about the omicron variant, but what is known is that COVID-19 vaccines slow the transmission of the virus and help prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death.

The department recommends that everyone eligible receive the vaccine as soon as possible, and for fully vaccinated individuals receive a booster dose after six months of their second dose.