Illinois reports first case of Omicron variant, in Chicago

Omicron variant Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus has been detected in Chicago, officials with the city and the Illinois state health departments said.

The infected person is a known contact of another confirmed Omicron case from another state who was visiting Chicago. The unidentified Chicagoan was fully vaccinated and had a booster shot against COVID-19; the person is self-isolating while recovering.

“Public health officials continue to perform contact tracing. Additional information about the individual is not available to protect their identity and protected health information,” officials said in a news release Tuesday.

It is the first reported case of Omicron in Illinois since the variant began spreading across the globe. Researchers still are unsure whether this variety of COVID-19 is more contagious or poses more risks of serious illness and hospitalization.

“While we don’t have all the answers right now, we know the general prevention strategies we’ve been recommending – vaccination, boosters, masking, testing, physical distancing – are our best protection against the virus and its variants," Ngozi Ezike, the Illinois director of public health, said. "As long as the virus continues to circulate, it has the potential to mutate into new variants. Vaccination can help stop circulation, but we need more people to get vaccinated.”