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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

The Omicron variant hasn't been detected in Montana, state health department says

Coronavirus test swab.

The Montana state health department says all positive COVID-19 samples are being monitored and so far there’s no sign the new Omicron coronavirus variant is circulating in the state.

State health department spokesman Jon Ebelt says all positive COVID 19-samples in Montana are sequenced but tacks on this one disclaimer: The sample must contain enough genomic material for testing. He tells Montana Public Radio about 10 to 15 percent of samples don’t have enough material to be analyzed, but agency officials are confident they’re getting a very solid overall sample size.

Ebelt says it takes about three days to sequence positive COVID-19 cases in Montana.

The agency has conducted surveillance for COVID-19 variants over the past year and that work continues with its three Montana partners.

Genetic sequencing allows scientists to identify known COVID-19 variants that federal health officials say are concerning.

The state health department say the single most important step people can take to prevent infection is to get vaccinated and to get the booster

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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