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Connecticut Reports First Confirmed Case Of Omicron Variant

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) --  Connecticut has reported its first case of the Omicron variant.

State officials said Saturday that a man in his 60s from Hartford County developed mild symptoms on Nov. 27. He took an at-home COVID test and tested positive on Nov. 29, then took a molecular test on Dec. 1, which also came back positive.

The man is fully vaccinated.

In a statement, Gov. Ned Lamont said, "This likely is not the only case of the variant in the state. That being said, I must urge everyone in Connecticut not to panic. While we are still learning more about this variant, our health providers are continuing to do their best to protect everyone. We have life-saving tools like vaccines and boosters available to fight this pandemic – including the Delta and Omicron variants – and I urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and everyone around them."

Officials say a family member of the man was in New York City between Nov. 17-22 to attend the Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center. That family member developed mild symptoms on Nov. 21, and on Nov. 23, they took an at-home COVID test, which came back positive.

That family member is no longer symptomatic. They are also fully vaccinated.

Additional family members have been tested and are awaiting results.


"The isolate was found, sequenced, and confirmed as Omicron within one day. This team was able to complete case investigation in a timely manner. Given the number of states that have identified Omicron to date, it was only a matter of time before we identified it here in Connecticut as well. Although Omicron appears to be more infectious than the Delta variant, both affected individuals have had mild symptoms to date. It is reassuring as their immunity seems to be helping them fight off this infection. Vaccination and boosters are still our greatest offense. If we can keep people out of the hospital, reducing morbidity and mortality of COVID-19, it is still a win for vaccines in our society," Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said.

This is at least the second Omicron variant case to be linked to the Anime NYC convention. Earlier this week, a Minnesota man who attended the convention tested positive for the variant. He is vaccinated and experienced mild symptoms.

There are at least eight cases of the Omicron variant in New York state. At least four of those cases are in New York City and one on Long Island.

It is unknown if any of those cases have been linked to the convention.

The three-day event drew 53,000 people to New York City. Organizers required attendees to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which aligns with city standards for indoor activities.

A spokesperson for the convention released the following statement earlier this week --

"On December 2, we were notified that a visitor to Anime NYC tested positive for the new omicron variant of COVID-19. We have confirmed with New York's health officials that the event followed all guidance laid out by the city and state, including mask requirements and proof of vaccination for all individuals inside the Javits Center. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the visitor developed mild symptoms on November 22, was tested on November 24, and their symptoms have since resolved. We are working actively with New York City health officials, who recommend anyone who attended Anime NYC get tested."

Contact tracing teams are working with the New Yorkers in the city who have tested positive for the variant.

One case of the Omicron variant has been confirmed in New Jersey. A traveler from Georgia tested positive after a recent trip to South Africa.

On Thursday, President Biden said he planned to tighten rules for international flights and that passengers, regardless of vaccination status, will have to take a COVID-19 test the day before departing for the U.S.

Health officials around the world have been concerned about the variant because of its never-before-seen amount of mutations.

Stay with CBS2, CBSN New York and for more on this developing story.

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