The omicron variant has officially made its way to West Alabama, officials have confirmed.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, a resident in the West Central Public Health Department was confirmed to have the first case of the variant in Alabama.

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The WCPHD includes several West Alabama counties, including Tuscaloosa, Pickens, Greene, Hale, Bibb, Fayette, Perry and Lamar Counties.

Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama's State Health Officer, told The Associated Press Thursday he wasn't surprised the variant popped up in the state, considering several surrounding states have already reported positive cases.

"We know that this virus is highly infectious and moves quickly throughout the world. Alabamians know what to do to keep each other safe now — get the vaccine, get tested, wear a mask indoors, and get a booster. Together, we can fight this virus and help keep our residents safe," Harris said.

The ADPH said that the resident first reported mild symptoms in early December, sought testing and has not been hospitalized. They did not report any travel outside the state.

According to health officials, the omicron variant has shown signs of a higher infection and transmission rate among those with the virus, although the symptoms are much more mild. However, Harris warned that scientists are still learning more about the variant.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new positive cases in Alabama has risen slightly over the past two weeks. On November 29, there were 303 reported cases, and on December 13 there were 542, according to a study at Johns Hopkins University.

Alabama COVID-19 Vaccine Breakdown (June 2021)

Each graphic shows how many people are vaccinated in all of Alabama's 67 counties, plus the percentage of vaccinated people versus that county's total population. This data was pulled from the Alabama Department of Public Health, county health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

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