Three more cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in New York City residents, bringing the tally to a total eight New Yorkers infected with the new COVID-19 strain, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Saturday, Dec. 4.
“We knew the Omicron variant was coming and we expect to see more cases,” Hochul said in a statement. “But let me be clear: We are not defenseless. We have the tools to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus: Get your vaccine, get your booster, and wear your mask. Let’s use these tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones as we approach the holidays.”
The new cases are on top of the five that Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed during a joint briefing late Thursday, and the first case tied to the city detected earlier that day, which was found in a Minnesota man who had traveled to the Big Apple for the sold-out 2021 Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center last month.
Seven of the state’s cases are among New York City resident and one was found in a woman from Suffolk County on Long Island.
The first Omicron case detected in neighboring Connecticut was discovered in a man whose family member traveled to Manhattan Anime event between Nov. 17-22 and developed mild symptoms on Nov. 21, Governor Ned Lamont said Saturday.
Both Nutmeg State residents were fully vaccinated and their symptoms have since resolved, according to Lamont’s office.
During the Thursday briefing, City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said that the variant had been found in people who haven’t traveled abroad, meaning there is community spread and that there will likely be “a lot more cases.”
“This is not just due to two people who are traveling to southern Africa or to other parts of the world, where Omicron has already been identified,” Chokshi said at the time.
The variant was first detected in specimens collected in the southern African nation of Botswana on Nov. 11 and South Africa on Nov. 14, and reported to the World Health Organization on Nov. 24.
The highly-mutated form of the virus can spread more easily than the original strain, but it is unclear whether it’s more infectious than Delta, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC lists 13 states that have detected Omicron, but does not include Connecticut, which announced its first case Saturday.