Omicron variant: Confirmed case in Hertfordshire says health boss Jim McManus

There has been a confirmed case of the Omnicron variant of COVID-19 in Hertfordshire.

There has been a confirmed case of the Omnicron variant of COVID-19 in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Leigh Prather -

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has now reached Hertfordshire, according to public health officials.

This is the first time a  case of the Omicron variant has been confirmed in the county, and a second case –  said to be linked to the first – is also ‘suspected’.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Hertfordshire’s director of public health Jim McManus said there was a link to international travel.

“We have been informed about one confirmed and one suspected case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Hertfordshire,” said Mr McManus.

“The two cases are linked, and have a link to international travel.

“Both people are self-isolating at home and rapid enhanced contact tracing is already taking place.”

The Omicron variant was first reported just over a week ago, after being identified in South Africa.

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But since then a growing number of cases have been identified in other countries, including the UK.

Earlier this week Mr McManus said the variant had arisen very quickly and that it was not yet known whether it was more transmissible than the Delta variant. But he stressed that was no cause for panic.

He stressed that the public health officials at the county council were prepared to take action – including widespread testing – if necessary.

And he highlighted work that the county council intended to take with retail outlets, schools and employers.

Following the confirmation of the case in Hertfordshire on Wednesday, he pointed to the continuing importance of taking sensible precautions.

He said: “This is a timely reminder of how important it is that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, use the NHS Covid-19 app, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.”

Latest available data shows that in the seven days to November 26, there were 6181 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hertfordshire – resulting in an incidence rate of 516.9 cases per 100k population.