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Murphy: 1st omicron COVID-19 case detected in New Jersey
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Murphy: 1st omicron COVID-19 case detected in New Jersey

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Health officials have confirmed cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday evening. A 67-year-old woman from Suffolk County, two Queens residents, a Brooklyn resident and a fifth person believed to be a visitor to the state tested positive. Their vaccination statuses weren't immediately clear, but the woman from Suffolk County had received at least one dose, Hochul said. After a slow start, the United States has improved its surveillance system for tracking new coronavirus variants such as omicron, boosting its capacity by tens of thousands of samples per week since early this year.

State officials on Friday said they have identified the first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in New Jersey in a traveler to the state.

The fully vaccinated woman from Georgia had recently traveled to South Africa, where the variant was first detected. The woman, who tested positive Nov. 28, has remained in isolation. She experienced moderate symptoms and is now recovering in a North Jersey emergency department, the Governor's Office said in a news release.

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“The omicron variant is among us, and we need to take steps to stop its spread," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "It is vital that residents remain as vigilant as possible as we await more information about the variant. Vaccinations and mask wearing have proven to be an effective tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and I urge everyone ages 18 and over to receive a booster.”

Omicron was classified as a variant of concern Nov. 26 by the World Health Organization. On Nov. 30, the U.S. classified it as a variant of concern.

The first known U.S. case of the variant was detected in California earlier this week. That person recently returned from a trip to South Africa.

On Thursday, state officials advised those who attended an anime convention in New York City to get tested, as a person who had attended from Minnesota tested positive for the new variant. That person had not traveled outside the U.S.

Contact John Russo: 609-272-7184

jrusso@pressofac.com

Twitter: @ACPress_Russo

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I graduated from Rowan University in 2011 where I studied journalism. I covered local high school and college sports at the South Jersey Times and Vineland Daily Journal. I have been a sports reporter with The Press since July 2013

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