The state of New York has confirmed five cases of the coronavirus Omicron variant, Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday, bringing the total number of US detections of the new strain to eight.
“New York State has confirmed five cases of the omicron variant,” Hochul said in a Twitter post aimed at reassuring residents of the nation’s fourth most populous state that the detections were not unexpected.
“Let me be clear: This is not cause for alarm. We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread,” she said.
“Get your vaccine. Get your booster. Wear your mask.”
It was not immediately clear whether the new cases were in or near New York City — the country’s most populous metropolitan area — and whether they were detected in people who had recently returned from travelling outside the country.
Eight cases have so far been confirmed in the United States, with at least one, in Minnesota, involving a person with no recent international travel history, signalling the strain is already circulating inside the country.
Hochul’s figures followed the announcement by President Joe Biden that he is bolstering his administration’s campaign against Covid-19 as the winter takes hold.
The new measures include requiring all inbound international travellers be tested within one day of flying, and an extension of mask mandates on public transportation through mid-March.