BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – A COVID-19 omicron variant case has been confirmed in Boulder County, according to Boulder County Public Health.

BCPH learned of the omicron case after a local health care provider notified the organization that a patient recently tested positive for COVID-19 and had recently traveled to South Africa.

BCPH contacted the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, which was able to track the positive result for this person and confirm sequencing results on Dec. 3 for the omicron variant.

The infected person is currently isolating, and BCPH is working with CDPHE to notify close contacts.

“It’s not unexpected that we would eventually identify another variant of SARS-CoV2. All viruses generate random changes as they replicate. Some changes cause the virus to adapt and become more efficient in passing from person to person,” Michelle Haas, BCPH chief medical officer, said in a press release. “When we have such high rates of COVID-19 in our community, vaccination is critically important, as well as other measures to limit transmission such as wearing a mask inside.”

“Vaccination greatly reduces the chances of infection, which limits transmission and reduces the chances of being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19,” Haas continued. “Because the omicron variant is new, we are still gathering information about whether it is more contagious and whether it will cause people to have more severe disease. However, what little we do know would indicate there is still some protection from vaccines, and that masking and other mitigation strategies are still highly effective.”

The first positive case of someone being infected with the omicron variant was confirmed on Thursday.

Omicron was detected in the United States on Dec. 1, and on Dec. 2, the first case was confirmed in Colorado. During a news conference on Tuesday, CDPHE said it was a matter of when, not if, the variant would be discovered in Colorado.

Colorado is the third state in the U.S. to have a confirmed omicron variant.

The variant was discovered in a woman from Arapahoe County who had recently traveled to multiple countries in southern Africa for tourism. CDPHE says the woman was fully vaccinated but had not yet received her booster.

The woman was not symptomatic when she returned home to Colorado and arrived at Denver International Airport. She developed symptoms about a day later and tested positive that day.