New U.S. cases of omicron variant found in Minnesota, Colorado, New York
Elisha Fieldstadt and Erika Edwards,2021-11-02
The first identified case of the omicron variant in the U.S. was detected in California, the CDC announced earlier this week.
Four states in the U.S. have identified new cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
On Thursday, health officials from Minnesota, New York, and Colorado announced cases of the new, highly mutated variant, one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first individual detected with omicron in California.
The three cases in California, Minnesota and Colorado have been mild and those individuals are recovering, health officials say.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday evening that the state had confirmed five cases of the omicron variant.
"Let me be clear: This is not cause for alarm. We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread," Hochul said. "Get your vaccine. Get your booster. Wear your mask."
Hochul held a joint news conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, telling reporters that the early cases appear to be minor, non-life-threatening cases at this time.
A 67-year-old woman in Suffolk County who traveled to South Africa tested positive Nov. 30 following mild symptoms upon returning home. She had received at least one vaccination, but it was unclear whether the woman was fully vaccinated, Hochul said.
Two other cases were from individuals in Queens and one in Brooklyn, but their vaccination status was unknown.
The fifth case was identified in New York City from a traveler, but Hochul did not have further details.
Minnesota's Department of Health said an adult male, who lives in Hennepin County, was found to have the variant. He was vaccinated about six months ago and had gotten his booster shot in early November, officials with the department said during a briefing Thursday.He had mild symptoms on Nov. 22, which have since resolved. He told the Minnesota Department of Health that he had traveled to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center on Nov. 19-21.
Minnesota health officials are working with New York health officials to determine who the man may have had contact with. He hadn't traveled internationally, and officials with the Minnesota Health Department said it's most likely that transmission of the virus happened at the convention.
A statement from the Javits Center, which at one point was a New York City vaccination center, said visitors are required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks indoors.
Because the Minnesota man attended the convention, it's likely the variant is spreading in New York City, health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, said on Twitter Thursday, urging attendees of the convention to be tested immediately and take precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing.
It's unclear whether the new cases in New York were related to the convention at the Javits Center, Hochul and de Blasio said, noting that contact tracing had only just begun.
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