January 19, 2022

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First Case of Omicron found in Wisconsin; Gov. Evers urges vaccination – WMTV – NBC15

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The new Omicron COVID-19 variant is in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed the first case of Omicron Saturday afternoon.

DHS officials say a male from Milwaukee County tested positive for Omicron after a recent trip to South Africa. Officials say the man is fully vaccinated and had recently received his booster shot.

The Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa and has since been classified as a variant of concern by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governor Tony Evers responded, saying, “ Now is the time to double down on our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant. I urge all eligible Wisconsinites to get vaccinated and receive a booster dose as soon as possible and to follow the latest public health guidance.”

Health officials say contact tracing efforts have been completed and that this case is not related to the COVID-19 outbreak at a wedding last week that is currently being investigated by DHS and Milwaukee County health officials.

Variants are identified through a process called whole genome sequencing. Whole genome sequencing takes a sample of the virus from a positive SARS-CoV-2 test specimen and reads its genetic code to determine the genetic makeup of the virus. DHS, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and other laboratory partners regularly perform whole genome sequencing on a portion of positive tests.

DHS is urging all Wisconsinites to follow these public health practices to protect against COVID-19, including variants like Omicron:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Get your booster if you’re eligible.
  • Wear your mask in public indoor settings.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • If you’re experiencing symptoms or have been identified as a close contact, get tested for COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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