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Another Omicron Case is Detected in the US, This Time in a Minnesota Resident

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One other Omicron Case is Detected within the US, This Time in a Minnesota Resident

Extra recognized circumstances of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been reported in the USA on Thursday. Minnesota well being officers mentioned {that a} man who lives within the state was contaminated with the Omicron. The person, who officers mentioned had not too long ago traveled to New York Metropolis, represents the second recognized case of the variant in the USA.

And a girl who lives in Colorado turned the state’s first case of Omicron, state well being officers mentioned, after she not too long ago returned from a visit to southern Africa for tourism.

Leaders in Minnesota mentioned the invention was unsurprising and credited strong illness surveillance programs for locating it.

“This information is regarding, however it isn’t a shock,” Gov. Tim Walz mentioned in an announcement. “We all know that this virus is very infectious and strikes shortly all through the world. Minnesotans know what to do to maintain one another protected now — get the vaccine, get examined, put on a masks indoors and get a booster.”

A lot stays unknown about Omicron, together with whether or not it’s extra transmissible and able to inflicting extra critical sickness.

In keeping with the Minnesota Division of Well being, the person is a resident of Hennepin County, which incorporates Minneapolis. He had been vaccinated, and he obtained a booster shot in early November. He’s now not feeling signs, the division mentioned.

The person first developed gentle signs on Nov. 22, shortly after touring to New York Metropolis for the Anime NYC 2021 conference on the Javits Heart, the division mentioned. Officers mentioned the person had not been exterior the USA not too long ago. Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York mentioned on Thursday that everybody who attended the conference ought to get examined for the coronavirus, whereas Mayor Invoice de Blasio mentioned town had activated its contact tracing program to trace down individuals who attended the occasion. He added that “we should always assume there may be group unfold of the variant in our metropolis.”

The Omicron variant was first recognized by South African scientists, who reported their findings publicly on Nov. 25. Specialists have mentioned since then that it was solely a matter of time earlier than the variant was detected in the USA, and that after a primary case was noticed, many extra would in all probability quickly be discovered.

The Minnesota man was examined for the coronavirus on Nov. 24. The state’s Public Well being Laboratory decided late Wednesday evening that he had the Omicron variant, officers mentioned throughout a name on Thursday.

“Suffice to say, everyone across the nation is on the lookout for info and on alert” for the Omicron variant, mentioned Jan Malcolm, the state’s well being commissioner. “It’s very, very early hours.”

Minnesota officers mentioned they have been working with New York Metropolis and federal well being officers to look into the case, and that the person was cooperating with case investigators, and following public well being officers’ directions to isolate himself.

One in every of his shut contacts has since examined constructive for the coronavirus officers mentioned, however as a result of a fast take a look at was used, scientists haven’t but decided whether or not that particular person, who can be in Minnesota, had the Omicron variant as nicely.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis mentioned at a information convention that the resident contaminated with Omicron had not too long ago returned from a visit to a number of international locations in southern Africa. She had been totally vaccinated and was eligible for a booster shot however had not but acquired it. She was experiencing gentle signs and isolating at residence.

“This explicit case just isn’t group transmission in Colorado,” he mentioned. “We don’t but know the extent of group transmission inside the USA. We all know if group transmission is happening in Colorado, it is vitally small.”

Genetic sequencing is required to find out which variant a affected person has. In latest months the USA has tremendously expanded sequencing, however the course of takes time — on the Facilities for Illness Management, sometimes about 10 days — to yield outcomes. At present, based on the company’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, about 14 p.c of all constructive P.C.R. checks within the U.S. are being sequenced.

On Wednesday, California well being officers introduced {that a} San Francisco resident had been contaminated with the Omicron variant — a discovering they emphasised was inevitable, as they labored to comprise alarm over the variant’s discovery in the USA.

The person in Minnesota “was getting in poor health even earlier than we have been listening to about Omicron from South Africa,” Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious illness director, advised reporters on Thursday.

Although the brand new Omicron variant is grabbing headlines, officers warned that the sooner Delta variant of the coronavirus stays prevalent and remains to be spreading in the USA, posing a grave danger particularly to unvaccinated Individuals, who’re more likely than vaccinated folks to grow to be severely in poor health if they’re contaminated.

In Minnesota, Covid hospitalizations have been steadily climbing because the summer time, straining well being care programs and pushing well being staff to the brink as intensive care items have full of sufferers.

“The Minnesota surge at this level is Delta — we all know that from our surveillance and sequencing work,” Ms. Malcolm mentioned on Thursday. “We do hope this extra information underscores the urgency of paying consideration and realizing Covid may be very a lot nonetheless with us.”

Sixty-three p.c of all Minnesota residents are totally vaccinated, based on C.D.C. information, and in Hennepin County, the determine is 67 p.c.

Ms. Malcolm mentioned that there have been no statewide pandemic restrictions in impact for companies in Minnesota, nor any statewide mandate that folks put on masks in public indoor settings. She added that she didn’t consider that any “additional regulatory approaches” can be essential to handle the unfold of the Omicron variant. However she urged Minnesotans to take precautions voluntarily: Masks up whereas indoors, and get vaccinated.

“We really feel like we’ve obtained the instruments to handle this and keep forward of this,” she mentioned.

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