BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Governor John Edwards on Friday gave an update to the state’s response to COVID-19 and the new variant Omicron.

“Your best protection from Covid-19 regardless of the variant that you’re thinking about, or that you might be exposed to whether it’s Delta, Omicron, or anything else; is to get yourself vaccinated, fully vaccinated. Get your kid who is eligible to be vaccinated,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The Omicron variant has been found in five states including: New York, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Colorado.

Health officials say the Omicron variant has not been detected in Louisiana but we should prepare for it.

“The WHO (World Health Organization) has declared this named variant of concern which means we have to keep a close eye on it,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention, Ochsner Health.

Governor Edwards says 49 percent of the population is fully vaccinated right now. He says to follow the CDC guidelines and to practice good hygiene.

Local residence are divided on whether to get the vaccine.

“You never know if you have it and can’t tell but you can pass that along to some older people in your family and that can affect them a lot worse than it would affect you. so just keep everyone safe, especially the elder,” said Julia Prudhomme.

“I feel like it’s man made and it’s a shame that they are pulling it out like that to probably eradicate some of the race out here. I mean it’s many different things; you just got to look at it,” said Nathaniel Williams.

Ochsner Health recommends the booster shot to those who are vaccinated. For Pfizer and Moderna if it is beyond six months from your second shot you can get a booster shot. For Johnson and Johnston, boosters are encouraged two months after vaccination.

“What you can do is if you’re not vaccinated please get vaccinated. If you’re over 18 and have been vaccinated more than six months ago please get that booster,” said Dr. Sandra Kemmerly, System Medical Director of Hospital Quality, Ochsner Health.

Children as young as five years old are eligible to be vaccinated.

State Health Officer Joseph Kanter says Louisiana is in a better position than we were last year with Covid-1