First case of Omicron variant found in South Dakota

National News

PIERRE, S.D. (KCAU) – The first COVID-19 Omicron variant case has been detected in South Dakota.

The case was found in Minnehaha County among a man in his 20’s and verified by the Public Health Laboratory in Pierre, according to a release from the South Dakota Department of Health.

While it is the only case of the variant identified in in the state, due to the variant’s increased transmission, the release said it is safe to assume other cases across the state may exist.

“The best way to protect yourself from severe disease with this variant is to get vaccinated,” State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said. “We urge South Dakotans to monitor for symptoms and get tested as soon as they experience symptoms.”

The Omicron variant includes concerns of having a greater rate of transmission from person to person, reduced effectiveness of existing treatments, and reduced protection of the COVID-19 vaccine. Even so, current vaccines have proven effective in protecting against hospitalization and death from COVID-19, the release states.

According to the CDC, symptoms associated with COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath of difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches / Headaches
  • New loss of taste or smell

The ‘Omicron’ variant was first detected in South Africa in November and was first detected in the United States on December 1.

The SD-DOH also wants to remind residents of risk-mitigation precautions they can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 like:

  • Practicing good hygiene (handwashing, cleaning surfaces, etc.);
  • Physical distancing;
  • Staying home when sick;
  • Wearing a mask in crowded/confined spaces (ie. Airports); and
  • Choosing to get a COVID-19 vaccine / regular testing.

For additional information on all the variants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.

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