Five cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been identified in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted on Thursday.
First identified in South Africa, the mutated omicron variant sent markets tumbling on Friday as countries around the globe blocked flights from African countries to control its spread.
By Dec. 1, the first case of the omicron variant was detected in San Francisco in an individual who had come from the South Africa.
By Thursday evening eastern time, Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that five people in the state were identified as having the same variant.
More cases were also identified in Minnesota and Colorado.
"Let me be clear: This is not cause for alarm," Hochul wrote on Twitter ( (TWTR) - Get Free Report). "We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread. Get your vaccine. Get your booster. Wear your mask."
The five cases include one in Brooklyn, two in Queens one in Long Island's Suffolk County and one in an unidentified part of New York City.
"[When] we see a handful of cases, we have to assume there’s a lot more behind that and it’s been here for a meaningful amount of time," de Blasio said in a press briefing at City Hall on Thursday.
The mayor and governor stressed the usual precautions of getting vaccinated and wearing masks as the virus spreads in the state and the rest of the country.
While the cases of the variant are reported to be mild, they stressed the important of not letting down one's guard and falling prey to pandemic fatigue.
"We’re not complacent," Hochul said. "We’re not sitting back and saying we’re fine. We’re saying that we have so much available to us that we’re ready to deploy."