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Omicron variant detected in Minnesota

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The positive individual had traveled to a conference attended by over 50,000 people in New York City, just before Thanksgiving.

A case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Minnesota.

State health commissioner Jan Malcolm says the variant was detected through the state’s surveillance program. The positive individual is an adult male resident of Hennepin County who had been vaccinated and received a booster dose, and had recently traveled to New York City for an anime conference attended by more than 50,000 people. The conference took place November 18 through the 21, and the patient began showing symptoms on November 22. Commissioner Malcolm says the patient’s symptoms were mild, have since resolved, and he has been cooperative with state health officials.

Malcolm says while the quick emergence of the Omicron variant may seem alarming, there is no reason to panic.

"As with other new variants we have managed, we're at a stage where there is still a lot we need to learn about Omicron. There's much more that we don't know at this point than we do know, such as how severe disease is with Omicron, how transmissible it is. And we and our colleagues around the nation and the world are continuing our surveillance for this variant so we can learn more as quickly as possible."

Malcolm says while there is still a lot to learn about Omicron, there is a lot we do know about how to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"The most important thing we can do right now is stay on offense, and use the tools we have available to us to make it as hard as we can for this virus to spread in any form. In addition to vaccines and boosters, we can slow the spread of this variant and all COVID-19 variants and use the layered prevention measures by using the layered prevention methods of wearing masks, staying home when sick and getting tested when appropriate."

A close contact of the patient had also tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid test. It is unknown if that patient was also positive with the Omicron variant.

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