BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Health says no cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in the state.

LDH is strongly recommending Louisiana residents prepare by receiving the vaccine and urging those who have not yet been vaccinated to receive a vaccination.

State health officials are also suggesting that all international travelers test three to five days after arrival — regardless of vaccination status or recent history of COVID-19 infection.

“The time to prepare is now,” said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “The best way to prepare and prevent a future COVID surge is for everyone 5 years of age and older to get vaccinated and for everyone 18 years of age and older to get a booster. If you are eligible and have not yet joined the more than 2.5 million Louisianans who have done so already, go get the COVID vaccine today.” 

Although there are no cases identified in Louisiana or the U.S., cases have been identified in at least 17 countries as of 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 28, according to LDH officials.

LDH said epidemiologists, laboratorians and researchers in the state are continuing to monitor data to identify Omicron cases.

“Now that we are entering the winter holiday season, it’s also more important than ever to use those public health tools we know work – mask according to applicable guidelines, practice good hand hygiene, and get tested and stay home if you feel sick,” said Dr. Kanter.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classified Omicron as a Variant of Concern on Nov. 26.

“New information is still emerging, but Omicron includes multiple mutations across the SARS-CoV-2 genome, some of which may have concerning public health implications,” said LDH in a news release. “There is concern 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. We expect to learn more about Omicron in the coming days.”

To find a vaccine location, visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829), or call the state’s vaccine hotline at 1-855-453-0774.