NY governor urges testing for convention attendees after confirmed omicron case in visitor

Coronavirus

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a news briefing, in New York, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. (New York Office of the Governor via AP)

NEW YORK (WPIX) – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is advising anyone who attended a recent anime convention in New York City to get tested for COVID-19 immediately.

Hochul’s remarks, made at a COVID briefing on Thursday, came after the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed the state’s first case of the omicron variant in a Minnesota resident who had recently traveled to NYC to attend the convention.

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The Minnesota case, identified Thursday, is the second known omicron case in the country. The patient is a resident of Hennepin County and had been vaccinated, according to the health department. The man experienced mild symptoms as of Nov. 22 and was tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 24.

He attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Jacob Javits Center between Nov. 19-21, according to the department.

Hochul on Thursday said the man’s symptoms remained mild. “In fact, those symptoms have already resolved,” she added.

Still, she advised anyone who attended the convention between Nov. 18 and 22 to get tested immediately.

As of Thursday’s briefing, there were currently no confirmed omicron cases in New York. However, officials believe it’s only a matter of time.

“We fully expect it to be detected in the coming days,” incoming New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said at Hochul’s briefing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed that sentiment in a statement Thursday.

“We should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city,” de Blasio 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.”

Both the governor and the mayor confirmed that the convention required masks and complied with the city’s Key2NYC vaccination requirements for entry.

Minnesota epidemiologists are working with NYC and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials to investigate the case, the health department said.

The first known omicron case in the U.S. was announced Wednesday. The patient had recently traveled from South Africa to California.

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