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Omicron variant detected in St. Louis, Missouri's first case

The omicron variant was detected in a presumed positive case of COVID-19 in a St. Louis City resident who had recently traveled domestically.

ST. LOUIS — The omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in St. Louis, becoming Missouri's first presumed case of the variant, health officials announced Friday.

The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services was notified of a presumed positive case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in a St. Louis City resident who has recently traveled in the United States.

The sample results are awaiting confirmation by the CDC.

The Department of Health in the City of St. Louis is following a "communicable disease investigative process" related to the case.

The omicron variant is classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern” as scientists work to determine how it may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity.

Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.

“Although there is much we still need to learn about this new variant, we do know the best tool currently available to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is personal prevention. I urge Missourians to seek information on the Omicron variant from DHSS and trusted medical sources opposed to social media,” said Donald Kauerauf, DHSS Director in a news release.

Kauerauf asked people in Missouri to have vigilance in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Officials are urging eligible people to become fully vaccinated, including booster shots.

“We have proven mitigation strategies that work to protect us from SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and while we gather more information on the Omicron variant, COVID-19 safety measures are our strongest defense,” said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, Director of Health for the City of St. Louis in a news release.

The City of St. Louis Department of Health asked people to wear face coverings while indoors around people not in their household.

“The Delta variant is still the predominant variant present in Missouri, currently representing well over 99 percent of the cases. Citizens are urged to complete their vaccination series for COVID-19 and get their booster,” said Kauerauf.

Missouri residents can walk in or schedule a free COVID-19 test here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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