Health officials on Tuesday announced Illinois’ first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in a fully vaccinated resident.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) said Illinois’ first known COVID-19 case caused by the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) was identified in a Chicago resident.
The Chicago resident came in contact with another person from a different state who visited Chicago with the Omicron variant.
The resident was fully vaccinated with a booster dose, health officials said.
The resident did not require hospitalization and has been improving in self-isolation since their symptoms began.
Health officials are continuing to perform contact tracing.
South African officials first reported the Omicron variant to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, state officials said.
Retroactive testing confirmed the variant was preset in Europe at least five days prior.
The Omicron variant has now been found in more than three dozen countries worldwide.
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified the new variant as a concern.
The first case of the Omicron variant in the United States was reported on Wednesday.
With both travel-associated and non-travel-associated cases being reported in multiple states, health officials anticipate more cases in the coming days and weeks.
The IDPH and CDPH continue to work closely with the CDC to monitor cases of the Omicron variant.
IDPH laboratories are actively performing genomic sequencing os positive specimens to identify variants like Omicron.
Officials say the best protection against serious illness and hospitalization is to get vaccinated and boosted.
Governor JB Pritzker said, “Scientists need time to learn more about the Omicron COVID-19 variant, but in the meantime, we already know how to be vigilant.”
“So, get your vaccine, get your booster, wear your mask indoors, wash your hands, and get tested for COVID-19 if you feel sick or have been exposed to someone who tested positive,” Pritzker added.
“Public health experts and scientists worldwide continue to study the newest variant, Omicron, to determine if it spreads more easily, causes more severe illness, and how effective the current vaccines are against it,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
“While we don’t have all the answers right now, we know the general prevention strategies we’ve been recommending – vaccination, boosters, masking, testing, physical distancing – are our best protection against the virus and its variants,” she added.