Omicron Variant

Chicagoans Who Attended NYC Anime Convention Should Be Tested for COVID, Officials Say

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With the emergence of the new Omicron variant, the CDC is intensifying their previous around COVID booster shots, saying those over 18 years old should get one. Sandra Torres has more.

Chicago health officials on Friday urged those who attended an anime convention in New York City last month to be tested for COVID-19, after the omicron variant was detected in a man who went.

In a tweet, the Chicago Department of Public health said all city residents who attended the Anime NYC 2021 conference at the Javits Center should consider getting tested for the coronavirus.

"Chicagoans, if you attended the @animenyc conference at the Javits Center in November, consider getting tested for COVID-19 and, crucially, stay away from others (isolate) if you test positive," the tweet read.

According to health officials, the Minnesota resident, who was diagnosed with the omicron variant, developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and was tested for COVID on Nov. 24. He reported traveling to New York City and attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention from Nov. 19-21 at the Javits Center.

The resident of Hennepin County in Minnesota had been vaccinated and has since recovered, health officials said.

Minnesota's health department said epidemiologists will continue to investigate alongside New York City and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the case of the first recorded instance of the omicron variant in the United States, the infected person was identified as a traveler who had returned from South Africa on Nov. 22. He developed mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

The person, who had had the full two doses of the Moderna vaccine and wasn't yet due for a booster shot, is improving, California officials said.

After the first coronavirus case linked to omicron was recorded in California, health officials in Illinois said the COVID-19 threat will likely travel to our own state.

"We knew it was only a matter of time before the Omicron variant was identified in the U.S. and we anticipate there will be cases in Illinois," the Illinois Department of Public Health posted to social media Wednesday.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state continues to encourage all residents age 5 and older to receive the COVID vaccine, wear a mask, get tested for the virus and maintain social distancing in light of the new variant.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said the new finding "underscores the importance of continued efforts by all Minnesotans to limit the spread of COVID-19 in any form."

“We still have more to learn about Omicron, but the most important thing we can do right now is to use the tools we have available to make it as hard as possible for this virus to spread,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “In addition to vaccination and boosters, we can slow the spread of this variant and all COVID-19 variants by using the tried-and-true prevention methods of wearing masks, staying home when sick, and getting tested when appropriate.”

Health officials urged residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, wear well-fitting masks, get a booster shot if eligible and get tested if you have symptoms.