(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota health officials say they’ve identified seven COVID-19 cases in the state involving the omicron [[ahm-ih-cron]] variant. Officials say only two were linked to one another or to out-of-state travel, meaning the variant is spreading in the state. Health workers worry spread of the variant will increase the pressure on already overburdened hospitals. Officials are also concerned it could make the current pandemic wave worse. Over 975-thousand Minnesotans have tested positive for the virus and more than ten-thousand have died since the pandemic began.