KDHE: Omicron variant is ‘very likely’ in Kansas already

Coronavirus

The South African doctor who alerted officials of the possibility of a new variant, later named omicron, said the “unusual but mild” symptoms were what caught her attention. (Photo: Getty Images)

TOPEKA (KSNT)- The omicron variant is “likely” to be in Kansas already, according to a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE).

Matthew Lara, a representative for the state’s health department, told Kansas Capitol Bureau in an email Wednesday that the variant may be in the state.

We had two possible samples earlier this week that were omicron. We sequenced them and they have both come back as Delta. It’s very likely that the omicron variant is here and we just haven’t found it yet. 

MATTHEW LARA, KDHE SPOKESPERSON

This comes after comments made by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly at a public event in Topeka pointing to the health department’s findings.

According to the Associated Press, Kelly said health officials believed they had identified two potential omicron variant cases this past weekend, but genetic testing of patient samples ruled out one of them.

Testing on the other has not been completed. At least 30 states have confirmed cases linked to the omicron variant.

Kelly said confirming an omicron case “won’t change the approach” in addressing the novel coronavirus continued spread.

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