The Knox County Health Department received confirmation on Thursday evening of a case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Knox County.

“With the Omicron variant spreading quickly across the country, and already present here in Tennessee, we knew it was just a matter of time until this variant was detected in Knox County,” said Director of Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness Roberta Sturm. “While the variant is new, the strategies to protect yourself and your loved ones are not. As we head into the holidays, take every opportunity you can to keep yourself and those around you healthy.”

KCHD urges everyone eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccine has been approved for those 5 years and older. Fully vaccinated individuals ages 16 and older should receive a booster dose. Preliminary research indicates the booster doses may provide valuable protection against the Omicron variant, as well as the Delta variant which continues to be the dominant strain in the state. Vaccines are widely available across Knox County. For information on getting vaccinated at the Health Department, click here or call 865-215-5555.

In addition to getting vaccinated, KCHD encourages anyone who has symptoms or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to get tested. A map of testing locations in Knox County can be found here. Those who are awaiting test results should stay home and away from others until they receive their results.

Mask-wearing in public, indoor settings will also provide protection against COVID-19, including its variants. Additionally, physical distancing and regular hand washing will continue to provide valuable layers of protection.