The South Dakota Dept of Health has confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state, a man in his 20s in Minnehaha County.
State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton says the findings were verified by the state Public Health Lab in Pierre, and that it’s likely this case isn’t the only one in South Dakota.
Nebraska confirmed its first cases of the Omicron variant nearly three weeks ago.
Clayton says the best way to protect yourself against Omicron – and all other forms of COVID-19 – is to get vaccinated, monitor for symptoms, and get tested immediately if they experience symptoms.
The CDC says while Omicron wasn’t detected in the U-S until Dec 1st, it’s already the predominant form in the country, accounting for 73% of all new COVID cases in the U-S last week.
Omicron is the most-easily spread variant so far and existing treatments and vaccines are not as effective against it, but Clayton says they are still very successful in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.