Minnesota reports first omicron case in resident who recently visited NYC

‘I don’t want anyone to panic over this,’ New York governor says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 02 December 2021 20:36

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The state of Minnesota has reported its first omicron case in a resident who recently visited New York City.

The person who has been confirmed to have the virus is a man who was visiting the city’s Javits Center for a two-day conference last month, according to NBC News.

“This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise,” Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz said in a statement. “We know that this virus is highly infectious and moves quickly throughout the world. Minnesotans know what to do to keep each other safe now — get the vaccine, get tested, wear a mask indoors, and get a booster. Together, we can fight this virus and help keep Minnesotans safe.”

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said that “we still have more to learn about Omicron, but the most important thing we can do right now is to use the tools we have available to make it as hard as possible for this virus to spread”.

“In addition to vaccination and boosters, we can slow the spread of this variant and all Covid-19 variants by using the tried-and-true prevention methods of wearing masks, staying home when sick, and getting tested when appropriate,” he added.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said the individual is an adult man from Hennepin County, which includes the city of Minneapolis. He experienced “mild symptoms” on 22 November and was tested on 24 November. His symptoms have since been resolved.

The man spoke to investigators from the MDH, saying that he went to New York City to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention between 19 and 21 November at the Javits Centre, a convention centre on the western side of Manhattan. He was “advised to isolate from others,” MDH said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said during a press conference on Thursday that this development was “not unexpected”.

“The information is still evolving, but we understand that this individual while they were vaccinated, they have very mild symptoms and in fact, those symptoms have already resolved. That is good news,” she said. “There is one way to address this, New Yorkers: get vaccinated, get boosted and get ready. We do anticipate that there will be more cases.”

She added that “this is not cause for alarm again. It was foreseen ever since was first reported out of South Africa ... we knew it would come to New York state at some point”.

“We encourage people who have been at a conference recently at the Javits Centre” to get tested, the governor said, adding that they have a list of attendees to be able to contact them.

Ms Hochul said that the state government isn’t “sounding the alarms. We’re not overreacting to this” but that she wanted New Yorkers to “continue wearing your masks” and to “get your children vaccinated”.

“We’re in a far better place today than we were at the start of this pandemic,” she added. “So I don’t want anyone to panic over this.”

Later on Thursday, Colorado confirmed its first case of omicron in the state, found in a vaccinated individual who had recently travelled to South Africa.

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