GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging residents to take precautions as concerns rise over the newly discovered omicron variant of the coronavirus. Although neither DHEC nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have labeled omicron a variant of concern, the World Health Organization has.

So far, no cases of the new variant have been discovered in South Carolina.

On Monday, DHEC issued the following statement:

DHEC is closely monitoring the emerging information on the newly-identified Omicron variant as well as the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on it. At this time, the CDC and DHEC have not identified any cases in South Carolina through sequencing of randomly selected positive samples.

DHEC’s sequencing would detect any variant present in those specimens, including variants like Omicron that are not declared Variants of Concern (VOC) by the CDC. The federal agency has not yet listed Omicron on its VOC list. DHEC tracks VOC on its variant webpage and updates the list as needed based on the latest CDC determinations.

Information about the Omicron variant such as illness severity, transmissibility compared to other variants, and the effectiveness of current vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments against it are not known at this time as data and information continues to be gathered.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Doctors and epidemiologists with DHEC suggest residents get the vaccine, wear masks indoors and socially distance when appropriate.