New York Reports Five Omicron Cases, U.S. Total Rises to Nine

New York, Hawaii officials believe the omicron variant is now spreading in their states, causing infections not associated with international travel

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FRIDAY, Dec. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Five cases of the omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in New York state, one in Minnesota, and one in Hawaii, officials in those states announced Thursday. That brings the known total in the United States to nine, with California and Colorado previously announcing one case each.

One of the New York cases is a 67-year-old woman who traveled to South Africa, returned to the United States on Nov. 25 and tested positive on Nov. 30. She had received at least one dose of vaccine and has "mild symptoms," New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Thursday, CBS News reported. There was limited information on the state's other four cases. New York and Hawaii officials said they believe the omicron variant is now spreading in their states, causing infections not associated with international travel.

Minnesota officials said their first case is in a resident who traveled to New York City in November for an anime convention attended by 53,000 people. However, New York authorities do not believe the five new cases they announced Thursday are linked to the convention, CBS News reported. Both cases occurring in California and Colorado occurred in people recently returned from Africa.

Contact tracing is underway for the people who may have been exposed at the Anime NYC 2021 convention. "All attendees should receive an email or call from the NYC Test and Trace Corps or their local health departments with further information and recommended next steps. You are strongly advised to get tested," the Anime NYC 2021 organizers said in a Twitter post.

The Hawaii case appears to be the first omicron infection in the United States in an unvaccinated adult. Officials said the patient is younger than 65, has "mild-to-moderate" symptoms so far and had no travel history outside of Hawaii, CBS News reported. The patient previously survived a bout of COVID-19 over a year ago, state officials noted.

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