Louisiana latest state to report case of omicron variant

The Louisiana Department of Health reported the state’s first omicron COVID-19 variant case on Sunday, The Associated Press reported.

The health agency said the unidentified person who tested positive lives in New Orleans and has traveled within the U.S. 

In a statement, Health Officer Joe Kanter said the state has been preparing for omicron’s arrival, according to the AP. 

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“We now know omicron is here in Louisiana. This is cause for concern, but not panic,” Kanter said. “We have been expecting and preparing for this moment. To all Louisianans, the single best action you can take to protect yourselves and your families is to get yourself and loved ones vaccinated and boosted if eligible.”

Minnesota, Maryland, Hawaii, New York, California and Colorado have also reported cases of the omicron variant in the past week. 

After South Africa first detected omicron cases within its borders, a number of countries, including the U.S., placed travel bans on countries in southern Africa. 

Louisiana health officials also said at least 10 people on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that arrived in New Orleans on Sunday had contracted COVID-19, though it's unclear which variant. Passengers are being tested before they disembark and asked to self-isolate if they are infected. 

According to its health department, about 49 percent of Louisiana's population is fully vaccinated, the AP noted.