The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is reporting 8 additional cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. None of these new cases have required hospitalization.
This brings the total number of Omicron cases in our state to 45 — 40 probable and 5 confirmed. The first confirmed Omicron case in Louisiana was identified on December 3. The following is a total breakdown of cases by region:
Region 1 (Greater New Orleans area): 38 — 36 probable; 2 confirmed
Region 2 (Baton Rouge Area): 3 probable
Region 4 (Acadiana): 1 confirmed
Region 7 (Northwest): 2 — 1 probable; 1 confirmed
Region 9 (Northshore): 1 confirmed
On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and has named it Omicron. This new variant was first reported to the WHO by government officials in South Africa. Since that time, it has been detected in 57 countries and more than 25 states.
Information is still emerging, but Omicron includes multiple mutations across the SARS-CoV-2 genome. There is concern that this new variant may be more transmissible than previous strains and that Omicron may carry an increased risk of reinfection compared to other variants of concern.
LDH has established a network of laboratories to conduct genomic sequencing on positive SARS-CoV-2 specimens in order to track circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages, including newly emerging variants such as Omicron. Epidemiologists, laboratorians and researchers will continue to closely monitor these data in order to continue to identify Omicron cases in Louisiana.
Beginning next week, the Louisiana Department of Health will report Omicron updates every Wednesday and Friday.
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