Omicron Variant Detected in Hennepin County Resident
A Minnesota resident who recently traveled to New York City tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the infection involved a vaccinated man from Hennepin County who developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and sought testing on Nov. 24. The man has since recovered, but he told state health officials that he had traveled to New York and attended the Anime NYC convention, which was held Nov. 19-21 in the Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side. The person was advised to isolate from others.
Minnesota epidemiologists will continue to investigate in collaboration with New York City and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“While this is certainly something to take seriously — omicron development around the world – it is not reason for panic,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm during a media briefing with reporters. “As with the other new variants that we have managed, we’re at a stage where there is a lot we need to learn about omicron.”
While omicron is classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern,” scientists are still working to determine how it may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and disease severity. Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.
The Minnesota man who tested positive for the omicron variant received his primary vaccination more than six months ago and his booster shot in early November. State health officials said the mild symptoms in this case offer hope to others exposed to the omicron variant.
“The most important thing we can do right now is stay on offense and use the tools that we have available to make it as hard as we can for this virus to spread in any form,” Malcolm said. “In addition to vaccination and boosters, we can slow the spread of this variant and all COVID-19 variants by using the layered prevention methods of wearing masks, staying home when sick, and getting tested when appropriate.”
Malcolm encouraged everyone age 5 and older to get vaccinated and everyone over the age of 18 to get their booster shot.