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North Dakota Confirms First Cases of Omicron Variant

North Dakota, on Monday, Dec. 20, confirmed its first cases of the highly mutated omicron variant of the coronavirus. Four cases have been identified: two in Ward County and one in Burleigh and Cass County.None of the four individuals are hospitalized, and they are all adults under 50 years of age, health officials said. Two had traveled together to a different state, while two had not traveled.

Of the four omicron variant cases identified on Monday, three were fully vaccinated but had not received booster shots, and one was not fully vaccinated. All four presented symptoms. The two positive omicron cases that didn’t travel out of state are not related and do not live near one another, indicating there is community spread of the omicron variant in North Dakota.

North Dakota Confirms First Cases of Omicron VariantKruger also said there is potential for the omicron strain to rapidly spread across North Dakota due to the state’s low vaccination rate. The omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa last month. Since then, it has spread worldwide in just a few weeks faster than previous coronavirus strains.

The omicron variant has dozens of mutations compared to other strains, and scientists believe it is more transmissible. Researchers are still working to understand the omicron variant’s severity fully, but early studies indicate available COVID-19 vaccines will likely prevent serious illness resulting from the omicron strain.

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