Minnesota Reports Case of Omicron in Domestic Traveler – .

Minnesota Reports Case of Omicron in Domestic Traveler – .

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday it has found the omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 in a state resident who recently traveled to New York City, marking the first U.S. case in a person who did not ‘had not been abroad to places where we already knew that the variant was circulating.
The announcement comes a day after public health officials in San Francisco announced that they identified the first U.S. case of the omicron variant in a traveler who recently returned from South Africa, where the variant’s rapid spread has alarmed people. health officials around the world.

Minnesota announcement suggests it may already be established in the United States

“This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement from the state’s health department. “We know this virus is highly infectious and is moving rapidly around the world. “

The news came as President Joe Biden announced a five-point plan to tackle the spread of the virus over the winter, which includes promoting vaccines for children 5 years and older and booster shots. for adults, free home tests for the virus and an expanded “strike”. teams ”to help areas affected by severe epidemics.

Dr George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California-San Francisco who was involved in the confirmation of the California case on Wednesday, said on Thursday that news of the latest case from Minnesota does not necessarily mean that the variant is already widespread in the United States.

“A single case doesn’t mean we’re swimming in the omicron,” Rutherford said, noting that non-stop flights from South Africa only serve a handful of US airports and it’s possible that the infected people have crossed paths at the airport.

“We have to do a cluster survey to really understand it,” Rutherford said. “Yes, we have omicron here. Yes, we will have more over time. We look crazy and only found two cases.

The Minnesota Department of Health said the person with the omicron variant was an adult male and had been vaccinated. The person developed mild symptoms on November 22 and requested a COVID-19 test on November 24. The department said the person’s symptoms have since disappeared.

The person spoke to public health investigators in Minnesota and said they traveled to New York and attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from November 19 to 21. The person has been advised to isolate themselves from others, while epidemiologists in Minnesota are investigating in collaboration with New York City and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As California officials on Wednesday after the variant was found in a traveler from San Francisco who said he was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 after returning from a recent trip to South Africa, health officials in Minnesota reported that vaccination and wearing face masks is the best defense against the omicron variant.

The CDC told the CDC on Thursday that it was working with Minnesota health officials to investigate the case and recommended that all people 5 years of age and older get vaccinated, get vaccinated if they are due for a , get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and stay home if they are sick.

While the World Health Organization has declared omicron a variant of concern, scientists are still working to determine how it may compare to the dominant delta variant in terms of transmissibility and severity of disease. Scientists are also studying how well existing vaccines and therapies protect against omicron.

President Biden said Thursday that his plan “does not include shutdowns or lockouts, but widespread vaccinations and boosters and testing and more.”

In response to a question on whether further containment measures will be imposed on Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said “none of us want this to happen” and that we do not want this to happen. saw “no indication at the moment that it is in our immediate future”. San Francisco Health Director Dr Grant Colfax also said on Wednesday that “we do not plan to change any of our health orders or impose new activity restrictions in San Francisco” in light of the arrival of the omicron variant.

Biden said more than 100 million Americans are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, which means it’s been six months since their last Pfizer or Moderna injection or two since their Johnson & Johnson injection, but did not receive any.

Biden said his administration would set up hundreds of family vaccination clinics across the country and called on private employers to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated. The president also said his administration will do home tests for the virus without viruses, as will those in hospitals and clinics.

Starting early next week, the United States will tighten pre-departure testing by requiring all inbound international travelers to be tested for the virus within one day of leaving the world, regardless of nationality or status. vaccine. Currently, vaccinated travelers can be tested up to three days before departure.

The administration will increase the number of “emergency response teams” across the country to help local health officials manage outbreaks. And the United States, which has already donated 280 million doses of the vaccine to 110 countries, including South Africa – more than all other countries combined – will donate 200 million more overseas over the years. Next 100 days, Biden said, toward a goal of 1.2 billion doses.


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