Wisconsin reports first case of omicron virus variant

Wisconsin officials announced late Saturday that they detected the first person with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the state.

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.

“We’ve been prepared for this news and will continue trusting the science to help keep Wisconsinites and our communities healthy and safe,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement.

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.