Omicron virus variant confirmed in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) have confirmed detection of the first case of the COVID-19 variant, Omicron, in an Iowa resident. The case involves an unvaccinated individual under the age of 18 who resides in Black Hawk County. The individual remains asymptomatic, however because of travel exposure; the family sought testing based on public health guidance.

Black Hawk County Public Health acted quickly to initiate contact with the family and remain in contact to monitor the health of the individual. Proactive measures taken by the involved family, leadership of the county health department along with support provided by SHL underscore the strength of our public health process. It is because of this process that Iowans are informed about virus activity in the state. As always, COVID-19 infected individuals are advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance.

SHL maintains a strong statewide genomic surveillance program and the lab will continue to prioritize sequencing of test samples that look suspicious for the Omicron and other variants.

“There is emerging evidence that a booster dose of vaccine offers protection against Omicron, which is great news. Vaccinated Iowans who have not yet received a booster should do so as soon as possible,” said IDPH interim Director Kelly Garcia. “I want to emphasize how grateful I am to Iowans who have chosen to get vaccinated, thank you. To those who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 yet, I urge you to speak with your health care provider about the vaccine’s benefits for you and those around you”.

Find vaccine providers here: https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/