LARAMIE, Wyo. — On Friday, the University of Wyoming (UW) announced that the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Wyoming was found in a member of the UW community.
According to the university, lab sequencing confirmed that a student living off-campus with recent domestic travel is infected with the Omicron variant, and confirmation is pending for a second off-campus student presumed to also be infected with the variant.
Both cases were initially identified as part of UW’s diagnostic testing program conducted through the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) involved in confirmation.
The infected UW student had received two doses of a COVID vaccine but not a booster shot. The student is reported to be experiencing mild symptoms. The second individual presumed to also be infected with the variant, who was fully vaccinated and had received a booster shot, is asymptomatic and had a very low viral load.
Early indications are that, while the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, symptoms of infection for most people may be less severe than other forms of the coronavirus. And, while Omicron appears to be capable of evading protection provided by two- or one-dose COVID vaccines, COVID booster shots are likely effective in protecting against severe illness.
“The arrival of the Omicron variant at UW is no reason to panic, but it does highlight the importance of vaccines and boosters for our community members,” UW President Ed Seidel said. “We continue to highly encourage receiving vaccinations and booster shots.”