ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced three new cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in New York State.

The governor’s office said in a Saturday press release, the three new cases were found in New York City. There’s now a total of eight confirmed Omicron cases in the state, seven from NYC and one from Suffolk County.

In light of the rise of COVID-19 cases, Governor Hochul is reminding New Yorkers to protect themselves through vaccinations and face masks.

“We knew the Omicron variant was coming and we expect to see more cases. But let me be clear: We are not defenseless,” Governor Hochul said. “We have the tools to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus: Get your vaccine, get your booster, and wear your mask. Let’s use these tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones as we approach the holidays.”

Three Omicron cases were identified at Mount Sinai in NYC, three more were found at the Pandemic Response Lab, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed one case and on December 2 the Suffolk County case was identified by the Pandemic Response Lab.

State officials don’t believe these cases originated from the Javits Center Anime NYC convention, but are encouraging those who attended to get tested and wear a mask. A man from Minnesota tested positive for the variant after attending the convention, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Thursday.

The convention ran November 19-21, the Minnesota man had mild symptoms beginning November 22 and was tested for COVID-19 on November 24.

“The Omicron variant is here, and as anticipated we are seeing the beginning of community spread. We continue to work closely with our partners at the national, state, and local levels,” added Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. At this time, we do not know how quickly Omicron will spread or how severe the symptoms of Omicron will be. What we are seeing is that the rise of cases across New York State continues to be traced to the Delta variant. We encourage all New Yorkers to use the best preventative tools we have: get vaccinated, get boosted and wear a mask.”

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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