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Second Omicron variant case confirmed in Idaho

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare also announced the state lab has "15 suspect samples that are likely Omicron."

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Idaho's second confirmed COVID-19 case with the omicron variant Wednesday, nearly two weeks after the state's first omicron case appeared Dec. 10. 

In IDHW's statement on Twitter, it also said the state lab has "15 suspect samples" it believes are likely omicron cases. The health and welfare department said it hopes to "know more next week" about the noted samples.

The omicron variant was reported to the World Health Organization on Nov. 24, after it was first detected in specimens collected earlier the same month in South Africa and Botswana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first confirmed U.S. omicron case was reported Dec. 1.

A total of 423 new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases were reported in Idaho Tuesday, and Ada County remains at a high level of community transmission. Public health officials recommend that all eligible Idahoans receive the vaccine, and that all adults who've been vaccinated receive a booster dose when eligible.

RELATED: Latest Idaho COVID-19 case and vaccine numbers: Interactive graphs and maps tracking the pandemic

On Monday, Dec. 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that shows the Omicron variant has overtaken Delta as the dominant variant in the United States. Omicron now totals 73 percent of new cases. 

South Dakota became the 50th U.S. state to announce an Omicron case Wednesday, reported by the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH).

IDHW typically updates data for COVID-19 variants each Thursday at 5 p.m., but it announced the update a day early Wednesday to include information on Idaho's second confirmed Omicron case. 

Monday morning, IDHW announced that it will be ending crisis standards of care for the northern Idaho area.

The Panhandle Health District, which includes Benewah, Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, and Shoshone counties was the only area of the state still under crisis standards of care.

The rest of the state was deactivated on Nov. 22.

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