Photo Credit: NYS Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul / Twitter
New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Dec. 2, 2021

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has arrived in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul announced late Thursday.

Five new cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been detected among New York State residents, including four in New York City, Hochul said.

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“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 in a tweet. “Get your vaccine. Get your booster. Wear your mask.”

Earlier in the week, a Minnesota resident who attended a conference at the Javits Center in New York City last month has been diagnosed with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters Thursday that the Javits Anime convention organizers have a complete list of those who attended the two-day event.

Meanwhile, the New York Blood Center also announced Thursday that the state is facing a “blood emergency” with supplies falling below optimal levels as New York begins to gear up to meet the latest coronavirus challenge with the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Currently, the region’s blood supply stands at a 1-2-day level, well below the ideal inventory of 5-7 days,” the NY Blood Center said in a release. “Blood centers across the country are and have been suffering from shortages for the 19 months of the pandemic.”

The Omicron variant is creating new concern, the blood center said. “Donors with upcoming appointments and organizations with upcoming blood drives are canceling, creating extra volatility to the blood supply. Hospitals and patients must be able to rely upon a steady flow of volunteer donors, but the new variant is causing new uncertainty at the worst time of the year, as we head into the winter and holiday season,” the statement said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.