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Omicron variant not yet detected in Missouri wastewater – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-11-29 18:32:50 –

Kansas City, Missouri — Experts believe that a new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has begun in and around South Africa.

There’s still a lot to learn about this new variant, but public health officials said it wasn’t about whether the variant would reach the Kansas City area, but one day.

Frank Thompson, interim director of the Kansas City Health Department in Missouri, said that almost everywhere is connected about the nature of today’s international travel.

Thompson said community members should continue to practice the same infection control methods that authorities have been preaching.

“This includes washing hands, maintaining distance, and wearing masks in public places where distance cannot be maintained,” says Thompson.

Missouri has been testing COVID-19 in wastewater for several months through a sewerage monitoring project.

Mark Johnson, a professor of molecular microbiology at the University of Missouri, led the project and said he had not yet detected Omicron variants in the state as of early November.

“It may expand a bit because of growing interest now, but in most cases we have a fairly secure net, covering about 70% of the state’s population,” Johnson said. rice field.

According to Johnson, the project has only covered delta variants since around June.

A doctor at the University of Kansas Health System said the variant appears to be highly contagious and should be spread abroad.

However, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Stetes said early data showed that symptoms seemed more mild.

“They mainly show nausea, dizziness, probably dry cough and lightheadedness or malaise, and currently there is no loss of taste or smell and no severe respiratory illness, but the discovery of these cases It’s still really early, “said Stites.

Johnson said that while vaccination is always better for the COVID-19 variant, its composition makes the new variant more resistant to the vaccine. ..

Thompson said the department will work to target the population of people who have not yet been vaccinated.

“We have a population, and we have a significant population both throughout the state and here in Kansas City, and we don’t resist it, but for some reason we haven’t acquired it,” Thompson said. “Whether they have a question or a barrier, they haven’t done that yet. So how do you get into that population and recommend vaccination to a larger population? That’s me. It’s a challenge in front of us. “

Thompson said that even if you receive a low-dose booster, you don’t have to worry about diminished protection against the mutant.

“Some of the studies on getting FDA and CDC approval for that were that they had to demonstrate that lower doses provided the same level of protection,” Thompson said. rice field.

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