Updated December 2, 2021, 9:47 p.m. ET
At least nine cases of omicron variant have now been identified in five states in the United States
Health officials in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York all reported new cases of the highly mutated strain of the coronavirus on Thursday, a day after the first domestic case of the variant was discovered in California.
Hawaii became the fifth state in the country to report a variant case, shortly after authorities in New York announced they had identified five confirmed cases in the state.
According to Hawaii health officials, the individual is a resident of O’ahu with moderate symptoms. They had previously been infected with COVID-19 and would not have been vaccinated.
The individual is currently in isolation at home and has not been hospitalized, state epidemiologist Dr Sarah Kemble said. The individual had no travel history.
“This is not a cause for panic, but it is a cause for concern. It is a reminder that the pandemic is on. We must protect ourselves by getting vaccinated, by wearing masks, by distancing ourselves as best we can and avoiding large crowds, âthe health director said. Dr Elizabeth Char in a Release.
The cases discovered in New York are all “mild”
The New York cases were announced by Governor Kathy Hochul during a joint press conference with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Health officials say all cases are mild as individuals recover at home.
âBe clear: this is not a cause for alarm. We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread, âHochul said in a statement. Tweeter. “Get your shot. Get your booster. Wear your mask.”
New York health officials said one of the state’s five cases involved a 67-year-old woman with “mild symptoms.” The woman had traveled to South Africa and received at least one dose of the vaccine, Hochul said.
The woman returned to the United States on November 25 and tested positive on Tuesday.
Hochul told reporters that state health officials have identified four cases in the New York area.
âWe knew it was going to happen in New York State at some point,â Hochul said. “We’re ready for it. It’s no surprise.”
Colorado reports omicron case in resident who traveled to several southern African countries
Earlier Thursday, Colorado health officials announced the first case of the omicron variant in the state, marking the third confirmed case in the United States after two cases were confirmed in California and Minnesota.
The state Department of Public Health and Environment said the case involved a woman from Arapahoe County who had recently traveled to several countries in southern Africa. Officials say the woman tested positive a day after returning to Colorado.
The woman is showing minor symptoms and is currently in isolation at her home.
The woman was reportedly fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but had not received a booster. People who were in close contact with the woman were ordered to self-isolate, health officials said. None have tested positive so far.
Minnesota Reports Omicron Case in Resident Who Attended New York Convention
Minnesota officials have also identified a case of omicron in that state. Lab tests identified the case in a Hennepin County resident who had recently returned from New York City, the Minnesota Department of Health said.
“This news is worrying, but it is not a surprise,” Governor Tim Walz said in a statement. âWe know this virus is highly infectious and is moving rapidly around the world. Minnesotans know what to do to protect each other now – get vaccinated, get tested, wear a mask inside and get a booster.
Officials said the individual was an adult male who was vaccinated and tested for the coronavirus on November 24 after developing mild symptoms (which have since resolved) on November 22.
The individual said he traveled to New York and attended the Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, officials said, adding that epidemiologists in Minnesota would continue to investigate the case in conjunction with New York City and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in A declaration on its own that the convention had required all participants to be vaccinated and also required masks.
âWe have to assume that there is a community spread of the variant in our city,â de Blasio said, adding that local officials are working closely with event planners, the state and the CDC.
He and New York Gov. Hochul encouraged those at the Javits Center on the days of the convention to get tested.
Minnesota Department of Health officials have said their surveillance program is one of the strongest in the country, making it likely that Minnesota would be among the first states to find the variant.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the discovery further underscores the importance of taking action to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the state. These include getting vaccinated and boostered if eligible, wearing well-fitting masks in indoor public places and crowded outdoor areas, getting tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed to coronavirus, and washing your hands frequently. .
The Minnesota announcement comes a day after California reported the first case of omicron in the United States, in an individual who recently returned from South Africa.
This story originally appeared on the Morning edition live blog.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.