MDH confirms state’s 1st omicron variant case

[anvplayer video=”5075067″ station=”998122″]

The state’s first omicron variant case has been detected, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Thursday, MDH reported the department’s Public Health Laboratory found the variant after testing a person who had recently returned from New York City after having attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center.

MDH reports the man is a resident of Hennepin County and had been vaccinated. He developed mild symptoms before being tested Nov. 24. His symptoms have since improved.

[anvplayer video=”5074970″ station=”998122″]

The Javits Center provided this statement about the Anime Convention:
All visitors at the Javits Center are required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks while indoors, and we are working closely with our government and industry partners to learn more about this individual case.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released the following statement on the Omicron variant in New York 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. We are working closely with the State and the CDC, as well as the Javits Center’s event organizers, and our Test and Trace Corps will be contacting conference attendees. This conference required masks and complied with our Key2NYC requirement to mandate vaccination. Anyone who attended the AnimeNYC conference, especially anyone experiencing symptoms, should get tested immediately and take additional precautions, including social distancing. I urge all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, wear a face mask while indoors and in public, and help our city beat this virus once and for all.

"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," Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. "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."

MDH suggests Minnesotans take the following steps to protect against COVID-19, including the omicron variant:

  • Get vaccinated, including a booster, if eligible
  • Wear a face mask in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor settings
  • Regularly wash hands
  • Stay away from large crowds
  • Ensure proper ventilation in homes and workplaces
  • Get tested if experiencing symptoms

"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," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. "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."

Minnesota was the second state to confirm a case of the Omicron variant following California announcing their first case Wednesday. Colorado also confirmed a case Thursday afternoon after Minnesota.