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Omicron in Louisiana: See latest from officials on probable, confirmed cases

 A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

UPDATE: As of 4:11 p.m. Thursday, health officials reported 20 more omicron variant COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 37. Of those cases, three are confirmed and the rest are probable.

Only a few hours after confirming a few new omicron variant cases, state health officials said the number of probable cases bumped up to 16 in Louisiana as of Wednesday evening.

That means the statewide total is now at 17 omicron cases, with only one of those being confirmed, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

The majority of those cases were found in Region 1, which includes Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. Health officials have identified 11 probable cases in the New Orleans area. One was reported out of the Acadiana region, two from the Baton Rouge area and two more from northwest Louisiana.

The one confirmed case was reported earlier this month. No other information was provided by health officials on these cases.

The omicron variant has multiple mutations across the SARS-CoV-2 genome that could make it more transmissible and carry greater risk of reinfection compared to previous strains, LDH said, though information is still emerging and officials expect to learn more in the coming days.

LDH has established a network of laboratories to conduct genomic sequencing to identify variants including omicron, according to the press release.

“Epidemiologists, laboratorians and researchers will continue to closely monitor these data in order to continue to identify omicron cases in Louisiana,” LDH said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people 5 years and older get vaccinated and that eligible individuals receive a booster vaccination.

“These new cases of omicron should serve as a reminder of the ongoing threat of COVID, especially as we get ready to gather for the holidays,” state health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said in a statement. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated and get the booster.”
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Katelyn Umholtz
Aubri Juhasz is the education reporter for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was a producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She helped lead the show's technology and book coverage and reported her own feature stories, including the surge in cycling deaths in New York City and the decision by some states to offer competitive video gaming to high school students as an extracurricular activity.