Missouri confirms 1st case of omicron virus variant

Coronavirus

A traveler arrives to enter into a COVID-19 testing center at the Incheon International Airport In Incheon, South Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. South Korea’s daily jump in coronavirus infections exceeded 5,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as a delta-driven surge also pushed hospitalizations and deaths to record highs. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Health officials have confirmed the first case of the omicron coronavirus variant in Missouri.

The St. Louis Health Department said Saturday that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed the virus case in a resident of St. Louis that was first reported Friday as a presumed case of the omicron variant.

Health officials did not identify the patient, but they have said that the person had recently traveled in the United States. Officials have also said there are no concerns about that person’s health at this point.

Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of the St. Louis health department, said the omicron case is a reminder that everyone should get vaccinated and take other measures proven to limit the spread of the coronavirus such as wearing masks.

Scientists are still studying the new omicron variant of the virus to determine whether it spreads more easily or causes more severe illnesses than the delta variant. They are also looking at how well the current vaccines work against it.

Scientists monitor variants and the coronavirus’ evolution through genetic tests that are separate from the kinds of tests used to determine whether someone has COVID-19. This genetic sequencing allows scientists to monitor how the virus changes over time.

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