ST. PAUL, MINN. — Minnesota health officials on Thursday reported the state’s first confirmed case of the omicron COVID-19 variant, in a man who had attended an anime conference in New York City in late November.
Officials in New York said they were working to trace attendees at the convention, which had required vaccinations.
The man attended Anime NYC 2021 at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, the Minnesota Department of Health said. The department says the man, from Hennepin County, had been vaccinated. He developed mild symptoms Nov. 22 and sought COVID-19 testing Nov. 24. His symptoms have subsided.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said there are no confirmed omicron cases among New York residents. She said contact tracing is underway for those who attended the Javits Center convention.
“There is one way to address this — New Yorkers, get vaccinated, get boosted, and get ready,” the Democratic governor said.
Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart the vaccine.
The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday. A vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa on Nov. 22, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 Monday.
Omicron is classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern” as scientists work to determine how it may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.