Health

More omicrons found in hospitals due to delta drop

On Saturday, New York announced three more cases of the omicronic variant of the coronavirus, bringing the number of cases in the state associated with the new variant to eight.

“The omicron variant is here and, as expected, we are seeing the beginning of its spread to the general public,” State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a press release.

The number of states detecting this variant is also growing: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington state announced their first cases Saturday, the day after New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Maryland reported their first confirmed cases. Missouri reported its first alleged case on Friday.

The variant has also been found in Nebraska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Colorado, and Utah.

In New York City, seven cases were found in New York City, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, and another in Suffolk County.

The omicron’s arrival comes as hospitals across the state continue to experience stress from a spike in coronavirus cases, most of which are delta-related, as well as staff shortages.

The number of people testing positive for the virus every day in the state has doubled in the past 30 days.

Gov. Katie Hochul in recent days has authorized the Department of Health to restrict nonessential, non-urgent procedures in hospitals close to bed exhaustion, and has deployed National Guard teams to assist healthcare workers in facilities that deal with staffing issues and growing workloads.

Fifteen members of the National Guard arrived at Monroe Public Hospital in Rochester on Saturday, WROC reported. Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin said Wednesday that the state will send 13 National Guard teams to western New York, where County Executive Adam Bello has declared a state of emergency.

Hochula said the omicron in New York is not yet involved. One famous case involves a Minnesota man who was among 50,000 people who attended the three-day New York anime festival in November. The authorities urged everyone who attended the conference to get tested for COVID-19 and wear a mask in public.

Much remains unknown about the omicron, including whether it is more infectious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it can interfere with vaccinations, and whether it causes the same disease in humans as the parent strain.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Saturday reported the first confirmed case of the option in his state, saying it could also be linked to an anime convention in New York. The case concerns a vaccinated Hartford man in his 60s who has a family member who attended the convention. Lamont’s office said a family member who was also vaccinated developed symptoms that have since disappeared.

Three cases of the omicron variant were confirmed Saturday in Washington state – one each in Thurston, Pierce and King counties, state health officials said. They noted that the investigation is still early, and the details of the travel stories of the patients, two men and a woman between the ages of 20 and 39, are not yet known.

On Saturday, the Department of Health announced that a Massachusetts woman in her 20s who moved out of state is the first known case of this variant found in her state. An unidentified woman in Middlesex County is fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms.

The woman, who recently traveled from South Africa, became the first confirmed illness in New Jersey and Georgia after seeking help for mild symptoms at the emergency room. The fully vaccinated Georgia resident was in her home state for two days between arriving from South Africa and onward travel to New Jersey, health officials in both states said.

Authorities said the first three cases of omicron in Maryland were found in the Baltimore metropolitan area and involved two people from the same family. One of the two is a vaccinated person who recently came to South Africa. The third case found in a vaccinated person who has not had a recent travel has nothing to do with this.

In Pennsylvania, the first case in the state was a 30-year-old man from Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health did not immediately report whether the man was vaccinated against COVID-19 or was traveling.

The alleged first case in Missouri concerns a person who recently traveled to the United States, according to state health officials, who did not provide additional details about the St. Louis resident. The St. Louis Department of Health said it is awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases rose Friday in California, Nebraska and Colorado.

Five cases in Northern California were linked to a Wisconsin wedding late last month, according to public health officials. One of these people recently returned from an overseas trip, according to the Alameda County Health Department.

Health officials have confirmed six new cases of this variant in southeastern Nebraska. State health officials said the first case likely came from one in six people who recently traveled to Nigeria and returned on November 23.

On Friday, officials said Colorado had identified a second omicron case in the state just a day after the first confirmed case in the state.

“We knew the omicron variant was coming and we expect to see more cases. But let me be clear: we are not defenseless, ”said Hochul. “We have the tools to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus: get a vaccine, get a booster shot, and put on a mask.”

Meanwhile, 10 people on board the Norwegian Cruise Line approaching New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday night. The Norwegian Breakaway left the city on November 28 and was scheduled to return this weekend after stopping in Belize, Honduras and Mexico in recent days, the Louisiana health agency said. There are more than 3200 people on board. Officials did not immediately say if passengers were checked for viruses.


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