Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul revealed Thursday evening that five cases of the COVID-19 omicron strain had been discovered in the New York City area.
According to Hochul, they are responsible for the state’s only five known cases, which include one in Brooklyn, two in Queens, and one in Suffolk County, Long Island. Officials assigned a fifth to “New York City,” although without specifying a specific site.
Hochul said the 67-year-old Long Island patient had recently returned from South Africa. According to the governor, she tested positive on Nov. 30.
After cases of the variation were reported in South Africa and Botswana, US officials imposed travel restrictions on eight countries in southern Africa.
“There’s no need to be concerned; we just want to make sure the public is aware of information as soon as it becomes available,” Hochul added.
The governor continued, “The best thing anyone can do is recognize we’re not helpless against this variety at all,” as she urged New Yorkers to be vaccinated with booster injections.
Officials were now expecting a slew of new omicron cases.
“We have to believe there’s community spread,” de Blasio said, despite the fact that officials cautioned that the patients they had heard of had had minor symptoms.
“When we find a number of incidents, we have to presume there’s a lot more behind it and it’s been here for a long time,” said the mayor.
The news came after a Minnesota man tested positive for the mutation after attending an anime convention at the Javits Center in Manhattan last month. According to Hochul, the man’s symptoms appear to have subsided.
As city health officials prepared for omicron’s impending arrival, the mayor asked all New Yorkers to return to wearing masks in all indoor public areas on Monday.
Hochul expressed satisfaction with the state’s readiness, but cautioned officials not to overreact.
“We’re not resting on our laurels. We’re not going to sit back and pretend everything is fine. We’re implying that we have so much at our disposal that we’re prepared to unleash.”