COVID Omicron variant now found in both Iowa and Illinois

Local News

The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant in the state of Iowa. Illinois detected its first case Tuesday, Dec. 7.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) on Thursday confirmed detection of the first case of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, in an Iowa resident.

The case involves an unvaccinated individual under the age of 18 who resides in Black Hawk County. The individual remains asymptomatic, however because of travel exposure; the family sought testing based on public health guidance, according to a Thursday release.

Black Hawk County Public Health acted quickly to initiate contact with the family and remain in contact to monitor the health of the person. Proactive measures taken by the involved family, leadership of the county health department along with support provided by SHL underscore the strength of our public health process, the release said, noting it’s because of this process that Iowans are informed about virus activity in the state. As always, COVID-19 infected individuals are advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance. 

SHL maintains a strong statewide genomic surveillance program and the lab will continue to prioritize sequencing of test samples that look suspicious for the Omicron and other variants.

“There is emerging evidence that a booster dose of vaccine offers protection against Omicron, which is great news. Vaccinated Iowans who have not yet received a booster should do so as soon as possible,” IDPH interim director Kelly Garcia said Thursday. “I want to emphasize how grateful I am to Iowans who have chosen to get vaccinated, thank you. To those who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet, I urge you to speak with your health care provider about the vaccine’s benefits for you and those around you.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Chicago Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced Illinois’ first known COVID-19 case caused by the Omicron variant — identified in a Chicago resident and known contact of a confirmed Omicron case from another state who visited Chicago.

The Chicago resident – fully vaccinated with a booster dose – did not require hospitalization, is improving and has been self-isolating since their symptoms began, according to a state release. 

You can find Iowa vaccine providers here: https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/.

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