DOH: 2nd US case of Omicron COVID variant detected in Minnesota native who traveled from NYC
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC/AP) — The Minnesota Department of Health Thursday confirmed the second-known case of the Omicron COVID variant in the United States came from a state resident who traveled back from New York City.
Health leaders say the man who tested positive is vaccinated and began experiencing "mild symptoms" last Monday (Nov.22) and was then tested last Wednesday (Nov.24). The man’s symptoms have since resolved.
Both the DOH and Hochul said the man attended an anime convention at the Javits Center on Manhattan from Nov.19-21.
A Minnesota resident who was recently in New York City has tested positive for the Omicron variant and has mild symptoms. I am holding a press conference at 11am to address this and our ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic. https://t.co/G4JsSqUBvD https://t.co/7LcTHuCbs2— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) December 2, 2021
In her COVID briefing, Hochul said everyone who attended the convention had to be vaccinated, and to this point, nobody from New York has tested positive.
The first U.S. case was confirmed in a California resident on Wednesday. The person who tested positive had traveled from South Africa where the variant was first identified and had been widespread.
Health officials told News10NBC they’re still not sure how well today’s vaccines and boosters will work against this latest variant, but based on their experience with previous variants like delta, it should help at least to prevent severe illness.
Hochul Thursday said the state is ready for a probable first case saying "we knew [Omicron] would come to New York at some point. " Again, this second case was not in a New York resident.
In a statement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said:
“CDC has been actively monitoring and preparing for this variant. We have been working closely with Minnesota’s Department of Health and will continue to work diligently with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners as we learn more. CDC has expanded its capacity for genomic sequencing over the past nine months and we have more tools to fight the variant than we had at this time last year from vaccines to boosters to the prevention strategies that we know work including masking in indoor public settings, washing your hands frequently and physical distancing. These methods work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, no matter the genetic sequence.”