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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Omicron variant not detected in Kansas, Gov. Kelly asks Kansans to prepare

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The omicron variant of COVID-19 has been making its way across the United States since the first case was confirmed in California last week.

Health experts are concerned for the potential spike in cases during the holiday season.

Seventeen states have confirmed cases of the omicron variant, none are identified in Kansas yet but state officials say that it is only a matter of time.

Three of the four states surrounding Kansas have confirmed cases of the omicron variant.

“We fully expect that it will show up here in the state of Kansas, that’s how viruses work,” said Governor Kelly. “When it all started, it was on the coast and then came on in so yeah we’re fully expecting it.”

Governor Kelly says the state will continue to work with hospitals, pharmacies, and local health departments to help Kansans prepare.

“We are as prepared as you can ever be but what we will continue to ask is that people of Kansas be prepared as they will ever be and make sure they get their vaccination and booster if they haven’t got that yet.”

The threat of the variant comes as many Americans are arranging travel plans for the holiday season.

The highest amount of cases reported per day in the U.S. was last holiday season, the period between Thanksgiving 2020 into January of 2021.

Monday morning during the University of Kansas Health System Update, several people had questions about the safety of family gatherings during the holidays.

Doctor Dana J. Hawkinson says while early data shows the vaccine to be effective against the omicron variant, he says practicing COVID-19 safety protocols can ensure safer family gatherings as well.

“If you can keep from going out and being in that social life or being in those social situations especially ten days to fourteen days prior to meeting and gathering,” said Dr. Stites. “If you want to take one of those take-home antigen tests the day before, two days before, or also get a PCR test, all of those things will add layers for your confidence in understanding and knowing that when you go to meet with these people and gather with them it can be as safe as possible.”

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