New York on Thursday, Dec. 2, reported five cases of Omicron variant positive events, which stem from people of different traces.
One case was detected in Suffolk County on Long Island, and four others were recorded within New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul (N.Y.-D) said at a news conference on Thursday, according to WLNY. Within the city, two cases were in Queens, with one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.
The patient in Suffolk County was a 67-year-old woman who came back from South Africa just five days before she tested positive for the novel virus on Nov. 30. She had mild symptoms and has received at least one dose of the vaccines.
One other patient was a Minnesota resident who recently went to the Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center.
The three-day event was said to have followed proper public health protocols such as mask requirements and proof of vaccination. It was joined by nearly 53,000 participants.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the Minnesota incident would suggest the Omicron is now lurking among the people of the city.
“We are aware of a case of the Omicron variant identified in Minnesota that is associated with travel to a conference in New York City, and we should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city.” he said.
New York City Health Commissioner David Chokshi addressed the same concerns, noting that the state has been sequencing 15% of the cases to analyze transmission trends.
“This is not just people who are traveling to Southern Africa or to other parts of the world where omicron has already been identified,” said Chokshi, NBC News reported.
Hochul meanwhile urged New Yorkers to remain calm.
“This is not cause for alarm. Again, it was foreseen ever since it was first reported out of South Africa,” she said, adding that protocols will remain the same in New York.
“There’s not a panic,” she said. “It is still a public health crisis, but does not have to be a crisis that leads to shutdown.”
Omicron is a newly emerged COVID-19 strain that the World Health Organization (WHO) has characterized as a variant of concern, the same category as the notorious Delta variant of India.
Creating world alarm in late November, the first of its cases in the U.S. was just detected Wednesday in California.