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The Minnesota resident who became the first in the state to test positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus was fully vaccinated and had received his booster dose in early November. 

"Primary vaccination was more than 6 months ago and the individual was boosted in early November," health commissioner Jan Malcolm said shortly after the state confirmed that a Hennepin County man developed "mild" symptoms on Nov. 22 and got tested two days later, with his symptoms since resolving. 

It's unclear if being vaccinated and boosted prevented the man from anything worse than mild symptoms, but Malcolm said "it's pretty logical to think that vaccination helped to make symptoms milder here." 

The latest reports from South Africa, where omicron was first discovered, state that while cases there are rising quickly, symptoms for reinfected or vaccinated patients so far appear to be mild, Reuters reported.

"We're delighted that the initial cases who have had vaccine breakthrough have had mild illness," said Ehresmann. "If we can prevent infection in the first place, great. But ultimately our goal with vaccination is to limit hospitalizations and prevent death. And so far, with limited data, that's what we've seen." 

According to MDH, the man attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21. Because he was in New York and was on flights to and from New York, extensive contact tracing has taken place and the man has been "extremely cooperative." 

The man did not travel internationally, so it's "highly likely" that he contracted the variant while at the anime convention, where upwards of 50,000 people are believed to have attended, according to Ehresmann. 

"There is one close contact of this individual who has tested positive and there is additional follow-up that's being done," said Ehresmann, noting that the close contact, who also lives in Minnesota, tested positive via a rapid test so it's unclear if it's the omicron variant.

Overall, the state has so far identified "less than 10" positive tests in Minnesota (only one linked to the Hennepin County man) that could potentially be omicron, with those results expected "within a matter of days." 

The state is not releasing any additional demographic information about the man. 

Approximately 2,000 positive COVID-19 tests of Minnesota residents undergo genomic sequencing every week to help identify which variants are circulating. Omicron is not believed to have had any impact on the current surge Minnesota is experience, rather the current wave is nearly 100% the delta variant. 

"The Minnesota surge at this point is delta. We know that from our surveillance and sequencing, where it's virtually all delta," said Malcolm. 

Health officials, including here in Minnesota, have stressed continued use of existing tools to help blunt whatever impact omicron may have: vaccinations, mask wearing, social distancing, staying home when even mildly ill and practicing good hygiene.

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