MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department reported on Saturday, December 11 that they have detected two cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

In a press release, Dr. Michelle Taylor said, “We did expect the Omicron variant to appear in Tennessee, as it has in 19 other states. Shelby County has excellent COVID-19 testing capacity, with several local laboratories which perform viral DNA sequencing as a part of routine surveillance. For that reason, our laboratories were able to identify the tell-tale DNA signature of this new variant. These results indicate the variant may already be spreading in Shelby County and possibly elsewhere in the state.”

The Shelby County Health Department recommends COVID-19 vaccines to slow the spread of the virus and prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. The Shelby County Health Department recommends vaccination as soon as possible, and that fully vaccinated individuals should receive a “booster” if it has been six months since their second dose.