First confirmed case of the omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Kansas

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced its state lab found the variant in one Kansas resident Thursday.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced in a news release Thursday that its state lab found the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in one Kansas resident. This is the first confirmed case of omicron in the state.

The Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories are screening all positive COVID-19 samples for a specific genetic characteristic that indicates the omicron variant. Any samples that screen positive are sequenced for confirmation of the omicron variant. The health department says their multi-pronged approach led to the detection of the variant.

β€œThe detection of the variant does not come as a surprise. This virus is highly infectious and transmittable. We must do our part to protect ourselves and those around us by using the tools available to us.” KDHE Acting Secretary Janet Stanek said.

The individual with the omicron variant is a vaccinated adult in Franklin County. The individual has not received a booster dose. No additional details will be released to protect health privacy.

Health officials are urging Kansans to protect themselves against COVID-19 and the omicron variant. They say vaccines remain the best tool to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. KDHE also encourages everyone to wear a well-fitted mask and to get tested if they don’t feel well, or have been in close contact with someone positive for COVID-19.

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