​​​COLUMBUS, Ohio — Labs are reporting two more Ohio cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • Laboratories find four Ohio cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19

  • The Cleveland Clinic said Monday that it has detected the new variant

  • Ohio State Wexner announced the state's first two cases on Saturday

The Cleveland Clinic and Covington-based Gravity Diagnostics have both said they have found cases of the contagious strain.

The detections follow Ohio State Wexner’s report Saturday of the state’s first two cases among central Ohio residents. 

Spokesperson Halle Bishop said Monday that Cleveland Clinic has detected omicron. Bishop said their lab routinely sequences positive specimens and shares the data with the Ohio Department of Health.

“This sampling of positive specimens enables us to identify and track SARS-CoV-2 variants that are circulating in the community,” Bishop said. “We continue to urge our community to receive their COVID-19 vaccination, as this continues to be the best protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19.”

The individual is a 28-year-old, according to the lab’s report of the case to a database for researchers to track mutations in the virus.

Gravity Diagnostics reported an Ohio case of the omicron variant from a 59-year-old male, who was tested on Dec. 4. The company processes about 8,000 to 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day from dozens of testing sites, analyzing positive results to determine the variant.

"The Ohio Department of Health reached out to Gravity Diagnostics about this specimen when it tested positive. We had already identified it as a potential omicron variant from our data and placed it into our sequencing queue as well as shipped a portion of the specimen of ODH. We reported our results to them as soon as we completed the bioinformatic analysis of the variant," said JP Canner, the company's vice president of regulatory, clinical and research programs.

The Ohio Department of Health said in a statement Saturday that Ohio State had detected the omicron variant in two adult men with no international travel history. 

“While the arrival of Omicron in Ohio is noteworthy, we must not lose sight of the fact that the delta variant continues to drive cases and hospitalizations very high,” Ohio Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said. “The hospitalizations in this delta surge are largely being driven by unvaccinated Ohioans.

Alicia Shoults, a spokesperson for the health department, said Monday afternoon that the two additional cases were confirmed from PCR samples of Ohio residents.

The Ohio Department of Health does not plan to release figures or demographic information on future cases, but the state will provide weekly updates on the proportionality of the omicron variant, Shoults said.