Updated: December 02, 2021 06:13 PM
Created: December 02, 2021 09:39 AM
The Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday that its Public Health Laboratory has found the variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as Omicron in a specimen from a Minnesota resident with recent travel history to New York City.
According to the department of health, the person with the Omicron variant is an adult male, who lives in Hennepin County, and had been vaccinated and had received a booster in early November. The man developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and sought COVID-19 testing on Nov. 24th, and his symptoms have resolved.
It's likely he developed the disease before the world was even talking about the Omicron variant.
Leaders are renewing their call to get boosters and vaccines.
At Lake Superior Community Health Center, they offer those to patients at any time. "A lot of people are calling or coming to appointments asking for the booster," shared Nikki Shockley, a nurse practitioner there. "We check when they had their second dose. Most people are on the ball and are bringing it up to us."
One Hermantown mom was there with her two teens, making sure they got their second doses. "I think it's important the kids are vaccinated, since it's going around so bad. I lost my brother to COVID, and I don't want my kids to go through that," shared Samantha Sundeen.
While Omicron is classified by the World Health Organization as a Variant of Concern, scientists are still working to determine how it may compare with the predominant Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and disease severity. Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against Omicron.
Meanwhile, health officials urge Minnesotans to take the following steps to protect against COVID-19, including variants like Omicron:
• Get vaccinated and if eligible get a booster. To find a vaccine near you, visit: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/ You can also text your zip code to 438829, to find a location.
• Wear well-fitting masks in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor settings.
• Get tested if you have symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, have traveled as per guidelines or have been in a setting where you may have been exposed.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Wash hands frequently.
• Stay away from crowds.
• Improve ventilation in your home and workplace.
• Take extra care to avoid exposure to the virus if you have medical conditions or live with someone with medical conditions.
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