Salem Radio Network News Thursday, June 8, 2023


Omicron variant case from community transmission reported in Minnesota

(Reuters) – The first known case of community transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the United States was identified in Minnesota on Thursday, the state’s health department said.

The United States reported its first Omicron variant case in California on Wednesday, in a fully vaccinated traveler who had been in South Africa where the new variant was first found last month.

A day later, Minnesota’s public health department said a resident infected with the Omicron variant was a fully vaccinated adult male who had recently traveled to New York City.

He developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and sought COVID-19 testing on Nov. 24, the state’s health department said, adding that his symptoms had resolved.

Scientists are investigating the Omicron variant, which has been labeled as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization, to see if it is more transmissible or severe than the Delta variant that is now prevalent. They are also studying how well current vaccines work against it.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz urged residents to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors.

“This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise,” Walz said. “We know that this virus is highly infectious and moves quickly throughout the world.”

The person who had the virus spoke with Minnesota Department of Health case investigators and reported he attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center in New York City from Nov. 19-21.

Minnesota epidemiologists will continue to investigate in collaboration with New York City and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governor Walz said the best response to this most recently discovered coronavirus variant is the same as it’s been throughout the pandemic: get a COVID-19 shot.

“Minnesotans know what to do to keep each other safe now—get the vaccine, get tested, wear a mask indoors, and get a booster. Together, we can fight this virus and help keep Minnesotans safe,” Walz said.

About 58.9% of the total U.S. population, or 196 million people, have been fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates among wealthy nations. More than 786,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, including 37,000 in November alone.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; editing by Caroline Humer and Bernadette Baum)


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