First omicron COVID-19 case reported in Illinois in individual who was vaccinated, boosted

(The Center Square) – Illinois reported its first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant on Tuesday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday evening the case was a Chicago resident who was fully vaccinated with a booster dose and didn’t require hospitalization.

The person “is improving and has been self-isolating since their symptoms began,” IDPH said in a statement. “Public health officials continue to perform contact tracing. Additional information about the individual is not available to protect their identity and protected health information.”

The department renewed its call for hospitals and laboratories in Illinois to increase the number of positive specimens they send to IDPH labs for sequencing.

“Scientists need time to learn more about the omicron COVID-19 variant, but in the meantime, we already know how to be vigilant,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “So, get your vaccine, get your booster, wear your mask indoors, wash your hands, and get tested for COVID-19 if you feel sick or have been exposed to someone who tested positive.”

South African health officials first discovered the variant on Nov. 24 and initial reports are that symptoms are mild. No deaths have been reported in Illinois from the omicron variant.

“Public health experts and scientists worldwide continue to study the newest variant, omicron, to determine if it spreads more easily, causes more severe illness, and how effective the current vaccines are against it,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “While we don’t have all the answers right now, we know the general prevention strategies we’ve been recommending – vaccination, boosters, masking, testing, physical distancing – are our best protection against the virus and its variants.”

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