The first COVID-19 case of the Omicron variant tied to New York City was detected in a Minnesota resident who traveled to the Big Apple last month, according to the midwestern state’s Department of Health.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the case did not come as a surprise and the state and city government is prepared for the new strain.
“This is not cause for alarm,” Hochul said at a COVID briefing Thursday. “It was foreseen ever since it was first reported out of South Africa, that we knew it would come to New York State at some point. And I want all New Yorkers to know that their state government, in collaboration with our local governments, our cities, and our counties, are prepared for this.”
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
The infected Minnesotan is an adult man from Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, who had been vaccinated and developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22.
He got tested two days later, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a press release on Dec. 2.
His symptoms have since “resolved,” according to the agency, and he told local health officials that he traveled to the Five Boroughs to attend the Anime NYC 2021 convention, a sold-out three-day anime gathering at the Javits Center in Manhattan from Nov. 19-21.
In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged anyone who attended the convention to get tested, practice social distancing and take extra precautions.
“We are aware of a case of the Omicron variant identified in Minnesota that is associated with travel to a conference in New York City, and we should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city,” he said. “We are working closely with the State and the CDC, as well as the Javits Center’s event organizers, and our Test and Trace Corps will be contacting conference attendees. This conference required masks and complied with our Key2NYC requirement to mandate vaccination.”