NYC Convention Visitor From Minnesota Tests Positive for Omicron

  • In Business
  • 2021-12-02 18:41:43Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- A Minnesota man who recently visited New York City for a crowded anime convention has tested positive for the omicron variant of Covid-19.

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"We should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday in a statement.

The adult individual was vaccinated and had received a booster in early November, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters. The man reported attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21. He developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and was tested on Nov. 24. His symptoms have since resolved.

An associate of the infected man also tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation, but it's not yet known if he was infected by the omicron variant, Minnesota officials said.

The anime convention drew 53,000 people to the Javits venue on Manhattan's West Side. All attendees 12 years and older had to be vaccinated, while those 5-12 had to show proof of a negative test. Masks were required for everyone 2 and older.

Javits has a list of all attendees, and New York officials are tracing the infected Minnesota individual's contacts there, Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday at a virus briefing. She urged all who attended any conference at Javits during that time period to get tested.

The case is the first confirmed for Minnesota, and the second in the U.S. New York does not have a confirmed case yet, but one is "very likely soon," Hochul said.

"We are ready to deal with this," she said.

Many Unknowns

Health officials around the world are racing to understand the severity of omicron, which was first identified in South Africa. Cases have been reported across Europe and in Australia and Canada.

The first U.S. case was reported Wednesday in California, a San Francisco resident who had traveled to South Africa.

The new variant was identified just as New York and others parts of the U.S. begin to see the effects of a winter surge and holiday gatherings.

Read more here: Delta Sends Hospital Admissions Up in 39 States as Omicron Lands

New York, the early center of the pandemic, has more than 3,000 people hospitalized for Covid-19. A month ago, it had fewer than 2,000. The Finger Lakes and Western New York regions are faring the worst, with positive-test rates of more than 10%. New York City is around 2%.

The state is ramping up its efforts to get people vaccinations and boosters, Hochul said. It also ordered 1 million additional antigen tests to help with the expected rise in cases during the holiday season. Tests will be made available to schools and parents, she said.

"I'm not prepared to shut down schools or the economy at this time," Hochul said. "That would be an overreaction."

(Updates with Minnesota health officials)

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