Louisiana Department of Health confirms first case of Omicron variant

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
Dr. Joe Kanter, state health officer, received his COVID-19 vaccine in January.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported the first probable case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state on Dec. 3, and confirmed it on the afternoon of Dec. 5.

"We can now officially confirm the probable case of the Omicron variant that we reported earlier this weekend. At this time, we have identified one confirmed case of Omicron in Louisiana," LDH stated in a Facebook post.

The case involves a person in the greater New Orleans region.

State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter stated the arrival of the variant "is cause for concern, but not panic."

“We have been expecting (and) preparing for this moment. To all Louisianans, the single best action you can take to protect yourselves and your families is to get yourself and loved ones vaccinated and boosted if eligible," Kanter stated via a Twitter post.

Gov. John Bel Edwards stated on his verified Twitter account: "Now more than ever it’s important that people take their COVID vaccines and boosters."

The World Health Organization classified the new variant, B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern on Nov. 26. It was first reported to the WHO by government officials in South Africa.

So far, the virus has been detected in more than 30 countries and at least 9 states. 

“The Governor and I promised earlier (Dec. 3) we would share with the public as soon as we had information that Omicron was in our state,” Dr. Kanter stated in a news release. “We know families have questions and concerns. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the public updated.”