MINNESOTA (KDVR) – The Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday that a man who had traveled to New York City has tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19. It’s the second known case of the COVID-19 omicron variant in the nation at this time, reported sister station KRON.
The MDH said the variant was found through the variant surveillance program. The man, who was vaccinated, developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and was tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 24. The MDH said the patient’s symptoms have since resolved.
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He told the MDH that he traveled to New York City and attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center on Nov. 19-21.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, Minnesota’s nation-leading genome sequencing infrastructure and strong testing network have allowed the state to quickly track the COVID-19 virus and better understand its spread. Today, those tools detected a case of the Omicron variant in Minnesota,” said Gov. Tim Walz. “This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise. We know that this virus is highly infectious and moves quickly throughout the world. Minnesotans know what to do to keep each other safe now — get the vaccine, get tested, wear a mask indoors, and get a booster. Together, we can fight this virus and help keep Minnesotans safe.”
On Wednesday, a person in California who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 became the first in the U.S. to have an identified case of the omicron variant. The San Francisco resident had traveled to South Africa.
“We still have more to learn about Omicron, but the most important thing we can do right now is to use the tools we have available to make it as hard as possible for this virus to spread,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “In addition to vaccination and boosters, we can slow the spread of this variant and all COVID-19 variants by using the tried-and-true prevention methods of wearing masks, staying home when sick, and getting tested when appropriate.”
The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from Southern Africa, where the variant was first identified and had been widespread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations.
Although the World Health Organization considers it a variant of concern, so far, health officials say people with the omicron variant have shown mild symptoms.
Federal and state officials in California and Minnesota all continue to push the message of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, plus booster shots, as the best method of prevention. They also encourage masking and getting tested for the virus.