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First case of omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Illinois

An information sign is displayed as a child arrives with her parent to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11-years-old at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill., Nov. 17, 2021. While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant, the delta form of the coronavirus isn't finished wreaking havoc in the U.S. There is much that is unknown about omicron, including whether it is more contagious than previous versions, makes people sicker or more easily thwarts the vaccine or breaks through the immunity that people get from a bout of COVID-19.

URBANA – Health officials reported late Tuesday that the omicron COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in a case in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health said the case was confirmed in a Chicago resident. That patient had been in contact with a person from another state who had a confirmed case of the omicron variant.

IDPH says the Chicago resident with the omicron variant was fully vaccinated with a booster dose.  The patient is self-isolating and did not require hospitalization.

In the same IDPH press release about the omicron case, Governor JB Pritzker (D-Illinois) urged people to continue to get vaccinated.

“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. I encourage all Illinois residents to make a plan for how to best protect themselves and their loved ones, especially in the holiday season,” said Pritzker.

Last Friday, health officials confirmed the first case of the omicron coronavirus variant in Missouri. 

U.S. health officials say that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading in the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s “State of the Union” scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron’s severity.

But reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly. Omicron had been detected in about a third of U.S. states by Sunday. Fauci said the Biden administration is considering lifting travel restrictions against noncitizens entering the United States from several African countries.

 

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Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Newsroom. He started at WILL in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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