NEW YORK - A man who flew from Minnesota to Manhattan to attend an anime convention last month at the Jacob K. Javits Center tested positive for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, Minnesota Health Officials announced Thursday.
The man, who was fully vaccinated, was in attendance at Anime NYC 2021, a convention of all things related to Japanese animation, from Nov. 19-21.
Speaking during a brief on the pandemic Thursday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said there were no confirmed omicron cases among New York residents. She said contact tracing was underway for those who attended the Javits Center convention.
Proof of vaccination was required to attend the convention.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged anyone who attended the convention especially anyone experiencing symptoms, to get tested immediately and take additional precautions, including social distancing.
"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," said de Blasio in a statement to the media. "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."
Health officials in Minnesota said there were at least 10 people under surveillance in their state as part of contact tracing. One individual was in isolation.
"There definitely is a high level of follow-up in terms of contact with this individual," said a Minnesota health official.
Officials in both states along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were also looking closely at the airline flights the man took to and from the convention.
The man developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and sought COVID-19 testing on Nov. 24. His symptoms, which were described as mild, had resolved.
No further details about the individual were released.
"There is one way to address this — New Yorkers, get vaccinated, get boosted, and get ready," added Hochul.
The case in Minnesota was the first for the state and the second for the nation.
The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday. A vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa on Nov. 22, developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 Monday.
Omicron is classified by the World Health Organization as a "variant of concern" as scientists work to determine how it may compare with the predominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity. Scientists also are studying the degree to which existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.
With The Associated Press.