Governor Janet Mills today released the following statement regarding the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, also known as the Omicron variant:

            “I have asked the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to closely track the new Omicron variant, particularly its severity, transmissibility, and its potential impact on Maine people and our health care systems.

“Omicron has not been detected in Maine or the United States as of now. Our partnership with The Jackson Laboratory, which continues to conduct genomic sequencing of positive tests to determine the presence of variants in Maine, positions us well to detect this new variant.

“We will also remain in close contact with our hospital systems and other health care providers to assess their capacity and work with them to ensure that Maine people have access to quality health care.

“The emergence of Omicron once again underscores the importance of taking commonsense steps like wearing masks when inside at public places, and, most importantly, getting vaccinated, including now getting your booster if you can. Vaccination remains the best and most effective way to protect your health and that of your loved ones, and we continue to strongly urge Maine people to get their shot, regardless of whether it’s your first or your third.”