LDH: 20 new COVID-19 omicron variant cases reported in Louisiana, bringing total to 37

Louisiana

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)

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 20 additional cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19, bringing the total identified so far across the state to 37.

The LDH says three of those cases are confirmed. The first confirmed Omicron case in Louisiana was identified on Dec. 3. The following is a total breakdown of cases by region:

  • Region 1 (Greater New Orleans Area): 30 – 28 probable; 2 confirmed
  • Region 2 (Baton Rouge Area): 3 probable
  • Region 4 (Acadiana): 1 probable
  • Region 7 (Northwest): 2 probable
  • Region 9 (Northshore): 1 confirmed

The World Health Organization (WHO) classified the new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern on Nov. 26 and named it omicron. This new variant was first reported to the WHO by government officials in South Africa. Since that time, it has been detected in 57 countries and more than 21 states.

“Information is still emerging, but Omicron includes multiple mutations across the SARS-CoV-2 genome. There is concern that this new variant may be more transmissible than previous strains and that Omicron may carry an increased risk of reinfection compared to other variants of concern,” the LDH said in a statement. “We expect to learn more about Omicron in the coming days.”

The LDH says it has established a network of laboratories to conduct genomic sequencing on positive SARS-CoV-2 specimens in order to track circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages, including newly emerging variants such as omicron. The state says epidemiologists, laboratorians and researchers will continue to closely monitor these data in order to continue to identify omicron cases in Louisiana.

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