Omicron variant in Milwaukee County man, mild symptoms

The COVID-19 omicron variant has been confirmed in Wisconsin. The first case was found in a man in Milwaukee County. He was fully vaccinated and had even received the booster.

Health officials say that may be why his symptoms are considered mild. He had recently returned from a trip to South Africa.

The omicron variant has others getting boosters and vaccinations.

At Infinity Pharmacy, signs of thanks are all around, with people showing gratitude for a life-saving vaccine.

"Our average now is around 100 doses a day," said Marwa Bakr, Infinity Pharmacy.

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After a busy year, the pharmacy has gotten even busier, seeing an increase in COVID-19 testing and demand for vaccinations, with many concerned about the new variant.

"We’ve seen a spike in testing as well as a spike in positive tests," said Bakr. 

On Saturday, Dec. 4, health officials confirmed the omicron variant is in Wisconsin. The positive case was found in a specimen from a Milwaukee County man who had recently taken a trip to South Africa.

"The person had been vaccinated and is only really suffering from very mild symptoms, as far as we know," said Dr. William Hartman, UW Health.

Dr. Hartman runs the vaccine trials at UW Health.

"So far, it appears if you are vaccinated, the symptoms appear to be very mild, and people have been tolerating this omicron variant quite well," said Dr. Hartman.

Omicron has been confirmed in at least 16 states. Dr. Hartman says it seems to be more transmissible but not as severe as delta.

"It appears that being vaccinated really is your best defense from getting severe disease," said Dr. Hartman.

Health officials are encouraging people to continue to protect themselves as this new variant makes its way to our area.

"It’s very important to be fully vaccinated," said Bakr.

Health officials say this newest case does not appear to be related to a cluster of cases in California stemming from a wedding in Milwaukee County.

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