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IDPH confirms Omicron variant in Iowa, unvaccinated individual under 18 in Black Hawk County

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed the first known case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Iowa.

The department says that the case is identified in an unvaccinated person under the age of 18 in Black Hawk County.

They say the individual is currently asymptomatic, but the family had gotten tested because of travel exposure. 

Black Hawk County Public Health has been in contact with the individual's family to monitor their health.

“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,” IDPH interim Director Kelly Garcia said. “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”.

Black Hawk County Public Health Department Director Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye encouraged members of the community get their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots to protect themselves from Omicron and others strains of COVID-19.

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent infection from the Omicron variant, or any other strain of the virus," she said. "We have the opportunity to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, especially as we enter the season of gathering."

IDPH says the State Hygienic Lab is testing heavily for the Omicron variant. Currently, the 14-day average positivity rate in Black Hawk County is 18.8 percent.