Missouri’s first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been identified, the state Department of Health and Senior Services announced Friday.

State health officials said they were notified by public health partners of a sample presumed positive for the omicron variant originating from a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled domestically. The state is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“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,” said Donald Kauerauf, the state’s health director, in a statement. “I urge Missourians to seek information on the omicron variant from DHSS and trusted medical sources opposed to social media. We also encourage Missourians to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and staying informed this holiday season as this new variant is investigated further.”

The transmissibility and disease severity caused by omicron are still unknown. Public health experts around the world are working to learn more about the variant and how it may impact people’s health. Scientists are also studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.

The delta variant remains the dominant variant in Missouri, representing more than 99% of cases, Kauerauf said.

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