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The Governor of New York is urging the 50,000 attendees of the Anime NYC show at the Javits Center from November 19-21 to get tested for COVID after a Minnesota resident who was at the event tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The man was vaccinated and had mild symptoms.
Governor Kathy Hochul threw the spotlight on the Javits Center in a further twist to the conference venue’s role in the pandemic. Following a transformation into a 2,500-bed emergency hospital in the early days of COVID, from January to July this year, Javits served as the largest COVID-19 vaccination center in the United States, distributing more than 646,000 vaccines in less than six months, and serving as a model for similar facilities across the nation. The Center has since reopened for events, including The Armory Show and Comic Con.
Hochul said that she had spoken to Alan Steel, the President and CEO of the Javits Center this morning. “There is one way to address this, New Yorkers. Get vaccinated, get boosted, get ready. We knew it would come to New York at some point,” she said. “We encourage people who were at this conference at the Javits Center to get tested. There is a list of those who attended and also they were vaccinated in order to go into this conference.”
This Omicron variant case is the second reported in the United States. The first was detected in California yesterday in a person who had recently traveled to South Africa.
At her press conference this morning, Hochul said there are no confirmed Omicron cases in the state yet but she expected that to change, adding: “We do anticipate there will be more cases.”
The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed the case this morning. “The person with the Omicron variant is an adult male, is a resident of Hennepin County, and had been vaccinated. The person developed mild symptoms on November 22 and sought COVID-19 testing on November 24. The person’s symptoms have resolved. The person spoke with MDH case investigators and reported traveling to New York City and attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from November 19-21,” they said in a press release this morning.