New York City Confirmed First Cases of New COVID Omicron Variant, and the fear is that convention attendees have already brought it to New Jersey.
The New Jersey Department of Health sent out an alert and mobilized its contact tracers, fearing convention attendees had brought omicron to Garden State.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said in a statement: “We expect that we will have people in New Jersey who attended the convention and who could potentially be at risk.”
Persichilli is urging everyone who was at the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from November 19-21 to get tested immediately.
Contact tracing teams, Persichilli said, will work to identify any New Jersey residents who may have come into contact with the infected Minnesota man at the convention.
New Jersey has yet to confirm a single case of omicron, but I think it’s already there. Regular COVID testing, whether at a test site or at home, cannot detect specific variants. The New Jersey Public Health Laboratory randomly selects positive test samples for gene sequencing, and this is how specific variants are identified.
The state is contacting all testing sites in New Jersey in hopes of identifying people who may have traveled to places where the omicron variant has already been detected. These samples would then be selected for gene sequencing.
So far, most people in the United States who have been confirmed to be infected with omicron have only had mild symptoms. There is no evidence yet that the variant causes more severe disease.
The main concern with omicron is that it has mutated to such an extent that it can escape the protections offered by both the vaccine and the body’s natural immunity after recovering from a previous infection. Health officials say the current vaccine is expected to provide some protection, which would increase with a booster dose.
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