Kansas hospitals, health officials prepare for omicron variant’s arrival

The arrival of omicron in the U.S. has health officials on edge. Kansans are among those wondering if, or when, the new variant will be found here.

By

State News

December 3, 2021 - 2:23 PM

Matt Shoemaker of the University of Kansas Health System is urging patience as health officials analyze the omicron variant of COVID-19. Photo by Screengrab of KU Health Systems Facebook

TOPEKA — As confirmed cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 begin to pop up across the country, Kansas health officials and hospitals are preparing for the variant’s arrival in the state.

On Wednesday, the California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health confirmed a recent COVID-19 case caused by omicron in a resident who had just returned from South Africa, where the variant was first identified. The first confirmed case was followed on Thursday with reports that the variant had been identified in COVID cases in Minnesota and Colorado.

With the arrival of omicron in the U.S., concerns about the efficacy of vaccines and treatment options, like monoclonal antibodies, against the variant have arisen. Matt Shoemaker, an infectious disease expert with the University of Kansas Health System, said omicron is still largely an unknown.

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