The latest variant of the COVID-19 virus, Omicron, has officially arrived in South Dakota.

The State Department of Health made the announcement Wednesday (December 22) afternoon.

The case involves a male in his 20's from Minnehaha County.

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The results were confirmed by the Public Health Laboratory in Pierre.

Because the Omicron variant is considered to be highly contagious, state health officials warn that despite only one positive test at this point, it is very likely that there are other cases around South Dakota that have yet to be confirmed.

The B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19, which was first detected in South Africa in November and was first detected in the United States on December 1, has been shown to have a greater rate of transmission from person to person, reduced effectiveness of existing treatments, and reduced protection of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, officials say currently available vaccines have so far proven effective to protect people against hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms include:

  • Fever or Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath of difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Loss of taste or smell

Up until this week, South Dakota was one of only three states that had not reported a confirmed Omicron case.

Oklahoma and Montana were the others.

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