Local experts on omicron concern

(ABC 6 News) – With all the talk of the omicron variant across the globe, how much do you have to worry about this new strain here at home?

Health leaders at Mayo Clinic and Olmsted County Public Health have a plan to mitigate risk.

They’re still encouraging every person who can get vaccinated saying that even if the pandemic doesn’t seem as scary as it did a year ago.

Vaccinations are the number one way to stop the virus from mutating, adding rigorous testing, contact tracing, and masking.

At this point, Olmsted County Public Health says they aren’t planning on recommending any kind of shut down to our elected leaders.

"How that happens and when that happens are all things that our state, federal, and World Health Organization partners can contribute, said Amy Evans, Olmsted County Public Health Emergency preparedness coordinator.

The Minnesota Department of Health says at this point, no omicron cases have been reported in Minnesota, adding that Minnesota has one of the country’s strongest genomic sequencing and variant surveillance systems.

"We will not be able to do this without vaccinations… We will not be able to do this without vaccinations," Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abinash Virk said.

Mayo Clinic does sequencing and tracks a positive test’s specific variant. Experts there agree the variant may be already in the United States undetected.

But state and federal sequencers should be able to tell us within weeks either way.