Earlier today, state health officials identified the first three confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) here in Maryland. The World Health Organization has designated Omicron as a ‘variant of concern,’ and cases associated with it have now been identified in a number of states and countries.
Our entire team is continuing to very closely monitor this situation. I am urging Marylanders to not panic, to be safe, and to use common sense. This is not the first variant we have seen, and it will not be the last.
While there are a great deal of unknowns about the Omicron variant, our state already has taken steps to make more rapid antigen tests available across the state. Nearly half a million at-home tests have been distributed at multiple locations, including local health departments, libraries, and community centers. Rapid tests and guidance are also now available at the international terminal at BWI Marshall Airport for the nearly 7,000 international passengers who arrive each week.
Getting vaccinated or getting your booster shot continues to be the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your fellow Marylanders this holiday season. Get a booster shot between now and next weekend to be fully protected by Christmas.
To find a vaccine provider and schedule an appointment, Marylanders can visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX.
Our state has been able to lead throughout this entire crisis by listening to the experts and by following the science, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.