NEW YORK – The second known case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Thursday. The patient recently traveled to New York City.
The Minnesota resident attended Anime NYC 2021 at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, according to the department.
The anime convention Nov. 19-21 drew about 50,000 people, according to event organizers, and attendees were required to wear masks and show proof of having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Officials in New York said they were working to trace attendees of the Anime NYC 2021 convention, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The patient who tested positive is a resident of Hennepin County and had been vaccinated, according to the health department. The man had mild symptoms as of Nov. 22 and was tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 24.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the man had not traveled outside the U.S. recently.
“Just given the timing … it seems quite possible, perhaps the most likely, that this transmission happened at the arena convention in New York City but that’s not definitive,” Malcolm said.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul at a COVID briefing Thursday also said the man’s symptoms were mild.
“In fact, those symptoms have already resolved,” she added.
Hochul advised anyone who was at the convention between Nov. 18 and 22 to get tested immediately.
The governor said there were currently no confirmed omicron cases in New York. However, officials believe it’s only a matter of time.
“We fully expect it to be detected in the coming days,” incoming New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said at Hochul’s briefing.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed that sentiment in a statement Thursday.
“We should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city,” de Blasio said. “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,” he added.
Both the governor and the mayor confirmed that the convention required masks and complied with the city’s Key2NYC vaccination requirements for entry.
Minnesota epidemiologists are working with NYC and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials to investigate the case, the health department said.
The first known omicron case in the U.S. was announced Wednesday. The patient had recently traveled from South Africa to California.