Missouri health officials reported the first suspected case of the omicron coronavirus variant in the state on Friday in a St. Louis resident.
The St. Louis health department is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a statement from the city’s health agency.
Dr Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of the St. Louis health department, said officials were made aware of the case around noon on Friday. She was unable to disclose information about the patient but said “there are no concerns about the health of this resident at this time.”
The resident recently traveled to the United States. It is not known if he is vaccinated. Davis said privacy laws prevent him from providing more information.
The St. Louis Health Department is currently not aware of any other suspected cases, she said.
Residents of St. Louis “shouldn’t panic” over Friday’s announcement, but they should continue to enforce safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing, and should receive booster shots. ‘They are eligible,’ Davis said.
The sample was first sequenced as part of commercial laboratory surveillance, according to the state health department.
Given the realities of international travel, scientists said it was inevitable that the omicron variant would be discovered in the United States, and they believe it may have spread across the country before it was detected.
Scientists are monitoring the variants and progression of the coronavirus through genetic testing separate from the types of tests used to determine if a person has COVID-19. This genetic sequencing allows scientists to monitor the evolution of the virus over time.
The coronavirus is continually evolving, but most mutations are harmless. At this point, scientists are trying to determine whether the omicron spreads more easily or causes more severe disease than the delta variant. They are also studying the effectiveness of current vaccines against it.
Donald Kauerauf, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Elderly Services, in a statement urged residents to obtain information about the new variant from the agency and other trusted medical sources rather than the media. social.
âThe Delta variant is still the predominant variant present in Missouri, currently accounting for well over 99% of cases,â he said. âCitizens are encouraged to complete their COVID-19 vaccination series and to get their booster. “