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First Case Of Omicron Variant Reported In New Jersey

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey has reported its first case of the Omicron variant.

Officials said a Georgia resident who is currently in New Jersey tested positive for the variant after a recent trip to South Africa.

The woman has been in isolation since testing positive on Nov. 28.

According to officials, she experienced moderate symptoms, received care in a North Jersey emergency department and is now recovering. She is fully vaccinated.

In a statement, Gov. Phil Murphy stressed the importance of mask wearing and vaccinations, urging all adults to get a booster shot.

"The Omicron variant is among us and we need to take steps to stop its spread. It is vital that residents remain as vigilant as possible as we await more information about the variant," he said in part.

COVID-19 Update: Researchers Say Omicron Variant Could Quickly Outpace Delta Variant In Cases Across U.S.

Health officials say residents should continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid crowded events, get tested if they experience symptoms, stay home when sick and wash hands frequently.

The New Jersey health department says more than 70% of residents are fully vaccinated, but so far, only 31% have gotten their booster.

Some residents CBS2's Cory James spoke to are questioning if the state should require mask wearing indoors and issue a vaccine mandate, but others are decided.

"Nope," one person said.

"I'm definitely going to be more conscious," Hoboken resident Massimo Guglietta said.

"No," another person said.

"Of all the mitigation and things that we do, I think it's a pretty minor thing to ask of people," Hoboken resident Daniel Delloiacono said.


New Jersey's announcement came just one day after five cases were confirmed in New York. Four cases were found in New York City and one was on Long Island.

In addition, a Minnesota resident tested positive for Omicron after attending Anime NYC at the Javits Center.

Right now, there are no reported Omicron cases in Connecticut.

Residents there were strengthening their guard with boosters Friday after a 24-hour COVID-19 update revealed 863 new COVID infections.

"I need protection, my family, my daughter," Greenwich, Conn., resident Themia de la Cruz said.

"I want to make sure that we don't go back to closing everything down again," Greenwich, Conn., resident Eric Storch said.

Connecticut's Department of Public Health laboratory says it has a strong surveillance program in place.

"For being able to identify Omicron when it lands and any other variants," director Dr. Jafar Razeq said.

On Thursday, President Biden said he planned to tighten testing 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.

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