Wisconsin reports first case of omicron virus variant

COVID-19 variant first reported in South Africa

A sign on a clear glass door says "Face Covering Required."
Signs instruct customers to wear face masks and maintain social distancing Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Wisconsin health officials have detected the first person with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the state.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the man had recently traveled to South Africa, where the variant has become prevalent.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious than previous strains, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Public health officials in California have also linked an outbreak of at least five people with the omicron variant to a Wisconsin wedding last month.