Omicron detected in southeast Missouri wastewater; variant rising quickly throughout state
MISSOURI (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says the omicron variant is rising quickly throughout the state.
The statement in a DHSS Facebook post was made after state health leaders learned the results from sewershed samples tested during the week of December 20.
According to DHSS, the results showed 32 of 57 samples in Missouri communities had mutations associated with the COVID-19 omicron variant.
This includes three cities in southeast Missouri: Farmington, Perryville and Cape Girardeau.
The full list of Missouri communities where omicron has been detected in wastewater can be found here.
DHSS said more data is being collected to find out the transmissibility and severity of omicron and which vaccines and therapies protect against the variant.
For nearly a year, wastewater in communities throughout the state have been tested and monitored for COVID-19 trends.
DHSS has partnered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the University of Missouri – Columbia, wastewater operators and others to obtain, test and track variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Our robust program for monitoring COVID-19 through sewershed sampling provides us with reliable information regarding the presence of the virus and its variants,” said DHSS Director Donald Kauerauf. “The existence of the omicron variant is becoming much more prevalent each week, making the actions of COVID-19 individual testing, vaccination and other mitigation measures more important as we already face the threat of the delta variant and an increase in flu cases.”
Questions remain on what impact omicron will have in the U.S.
State health leaders continue to ask Missourians to get vaccinated, to wear a mask in public indoor settings, wash hands frequently and to practice social distancing to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
How Missourians can get a free COVID-19 vaccine:
- Check for vaccine appointments online here.
- Call the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 1-800-232-0233 (or TTY 1-888-720-7489)
- Locate local vaccination events in Missouri, here.
- Seniors and homebound adults can make arrangements using information online, here.
- Contact the Missouri DHSS COVID-19 Public Hotline at 1-877-435-8411, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How Missourians can get a free COVID-19 test:
- Walk in or schedule an appointment for a test at one of the state’s free COVID-19 Community Testing Sites.
- Order a test through the state’s free at-home COVID-19 testing program.
- Find a free testing option near you through the federal pharmacy locations.
Copyright 2021 KFVS. All rights reserved.