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NY state confirms 20 omicron cases, 13 in NYC as variant spreads across state, Gov. Hochul says

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Residents wait in line at a Covid-19 mobile testing site in the Times Square neighborhood of New York, U.S., on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.

Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

New York state has confirmed 20 cases of the omicron variant of Covid-19, with 13 found in the New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

Hochul said the state expects these case numbers to “continue to rise,” and noted that there is community spread of the new variant.

“At this point we are prepared to say what we have is community spread,” the governor said at a press conference in New York City. “It is not coming from people who have traveled, it is being spread in the community.”

The announcement comes one week after New York state confirmed its first five cases of the highly mutated omicron variant.

It was first identified in southern Africa in later November and has since been found in more than 20 U.S. states and 57 countries across the world, according to the WHO. Scientists are still scrambling to answer questions about the variant’s severity, transmissibility and impact on vaccine efficacy.

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