NYC reports three new omicron variant cases, statewide total now at eight
Another three New York City residents tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19, bringing the statewide number to eight as Gov. Hochul urged people Saturday to get vaccinated against the new threat.
The prior cases involved four city dwellers and one Suffolk County resident as the new strain first identified in southern Africa made its initial appearances in the boroughs and Long Island.
“We knew the Omicron variant was coming and we expect to see more cases,” the governor said. “But let me be clear: We are not defenseless. We have the tools to prevent to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus: Get your vaccines, get your booster, and wear your mask.”
Houchul called on New Yorkers to take the simple steps as the holidays approach. The statewide total of fully vaccinated residents climbed toward 70% among the population of 19.5 million.
State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said it was too soon to know exactly how viral the new variant will become.
“As anticipated, we are seeing the beginning of community spread,” she noted. “At this time, we do not know how quickly omicron will spread or how severe the symptoms will be.”
According to state officials, three of the omicron cases were identified at Mt. Sinai, four through the Pandemic Response Lab and one by the city Department of Health.