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Douglas County has confirmed case of omicron variant

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Article last updated at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17:

Kansas’ second confirmed case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 is in Douglas County, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

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“The individual with the Omicron variant in Douglas County is a vaccinated adult who has received a booster dose,” according to a county news release Friday.

No additional details will be released to protect the privacy of the individual, according to the release. Autumn Bishop, a spokesperson for LMH Health, said she did not have information on whether the person who has the omicron variant is hospitalized.

Kansas’ first confirmed report of omicron was in Franklin County, officials announced Thursday.

Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, an infectious disease physician at LMH Health and deputy Douglas County health officer, said detection of the variant in the county does not come as a surprise as it has rapidly spread across the country since the first confirmed U.S. case of Omicron was identified on Dec. 1, according to the release.

According to LDCPH’s Friday update, 137 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Douglas County since Wednesday, bringing total active cases to 818. The rolling 14-day average number of new cases per day was 42.86.

Health officials urge people to get vaccinated and get booster doses. Those ages 5 and up are eligible for the vaccine, and those ages 16 and up can get booster shots as early as six months after full vaccination.

Vaccination can help slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging, Schrimsher said in the release. They can also help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death. Scientists believe that will be true of the omicron variant, as well, the release states.

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People should also wear masks in public, especially in indoor settings, according to the release.

“Masks work and vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious disease and death,” Schrimsher said in the release. “These are two keystones of keeping our loved ones and the community at large safer.”

In addition, if you’re sick or if you’ve been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you should get tested, according to the release. Find a testing location near you at this link.

At-home tests that provide rapid results are also available at grocery stores and pharmacies. If an individual tests positive on an at-home test, they should follow up with a healthcare provider about a confirmation test, the release states.

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See the latest COVID-19 stats for Lawrence and Douglas County on The Lawrence Times’ stat dashboard at this link.

Find out where you can get the free COVID-19 vaccine at this link.

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