A day after the first case of the new COVID-19 variant was identified in the United States, a man from the Midwest who attended a conference in New York City has tested positive for the Omicron COVID-19 strain.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday, Dec. 2 that the Department of Health in Minnesota alerted her that a constituent tested positive for the variant after spending time at the conference held at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Hochul noted that the person who contracted the variant was fully vaccinated - which was a mandate to attend the conference that was held between Friday, Nov. 19 and Sunday, Nov. 21 - and he experienced mild symptoms that have already been resolved.
The first case of Omicron was confirmed on Wednesday, Dec. 1 in California after a person returned to San Francisco from a trip to South Africa.
“The information is still evolving, but the symptoms have already resolved, and that’s good news,” she said. “There’s only one way to address this … Get vaccinated … Get boosted … And get ready.”
Anyone who attended the Anime 2021 conference at the Javits Center has been reached by contact tracers, Hochul said.
"We have a way to reach out to everybody, we have a list of everyone who attended, and we will confirm that there are plenty of testing opportunities for people in our state who may have traveled to New York City," she said. "Everyone who attended the conference was vaccinated."
There have still been no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in New York, but Hochul said that they’re prepared for when it makes its way stateside.
"We knew it would come to New York state at some point," she said. "We're ready for it. This is not surprising.
“We’re cognizant of the fact that it’s very likely someone will test positive for this. We’re ready. We’re prepared. We’re not sounding the alarm or overreacting,” Hochul continued. “We want New Yorkers to have the confidence to know that we are ready to deal with this.”
Hochul said that New Yorkers should continue to wear masks, get vaccinated, and get shots in the arm of newly eligible children between the ages of 5 and 12.
“We are ready. Unlike in March 2020 when there was a shock factor and people didn't know, we’re in a far better place today than we were at the start of the pandemic,” she added. “I don’t want anyone to panic over this. There are steps we can take and I’m encouraging everyone to take them.”
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