The Omicron variant is here. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has announced its first known case of the COVID-19 variant.

A news release from the Department says the presumed positive case involves a St. Louis City resident who had recent domestic travel history. The state agency says the sample was originally sequenced as part of commercial laboratory surveillance and results are currently awaiting confirmation by the CDC.

COVID-19 Omicron variant makes its way to Missouri

DHSS says the transmissibility and disease severity caused by Omicron are still unknown. Scientists are also 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,” says Donald Kauerauf, DHSS Director. “We also encourage Missourians to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and staying informed this holiday season as this new variant is investigated further.”

Kauerauf says the Delta variant is still the predominant variant present in Missouri, currently representing well over 99% of the cases.

DHSS says it will continue to work with public health partners to monitor for an increase in the Omicron variant, as well as trends in other variants.

Today, Missouri reports 5,375 new COVID-19 cases. There are 1,460 people in a Missouri hospital being treated for the virus. Over the past week, at least 15 people have died from the coronavirus.

Nearly 52% of Missouri’s have been fully vaccinated.

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