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Oregon confirms first 3 cases of omicron variant

Coronavirus virus infection vector illustration isolated on white background

PORTLAND — Oregon Monday became the latest state to confirm cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19, officials said.

The Oregon Health Authority said Monday that three cases of the variant were detected in the state — in Multnomah and Washington counties.

Oregon Health & Science University Laboratory conducted the sequencing that detected the variant Monday, state health officials said in a news release.

The cases include a Washington County resident in their 30s who was tested Dec. 9 and had traveled to Mexico before experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, officials said.

Cases were also confirmed in a Washington County resident in their 20s and a Multnomah County resident in their 20s. All three were fully vaccinated and additional details on their conditions weren't immediately available, officials said.

"We recognize this news is concerning to many people," said Dr. Dean E. Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority. "However, if history is our guide, we do know that even if a vaccine doesn't target a specific variant, the strong immune response you get from being fully vaccinated can still be highly protective against severe disease from all COVID-19 variants."

The omicron variant has been detected in more than half of the states in the U.S., including Washington and Idaho, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.