national guard
A nurse receives one of the first vaccinations at Mt. Sinai Hospital from Pfizer-BioNTech during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The number of coronavirus omicron variant cases confirmed on Long Island rose to five after two more cases were found in Nassau County over the weekend, New York State officials said.

Three omicron cases were previously confirmed in Suffolk County. The cases are among 34 confirmed statewide.

“The COVID-19 winter surge has significantly limited hospital bed capacity in many parts of the state, which is why it is more important than ever that we utilize the tools we have at our disposal to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy this season,” Governor Hochul said. “The vaccine is effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19, and I encourage every New Yorker to get theirs, or their booster, as soon as possible.”

Nearly half of U.S. states have detected cases of the Omicron variant, but the Delta variant still accounts for 99% of current COVID cases, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has said. For Omicron to be a significant problem, it will need to change that balance to become dominant.

“If we suddenly start to see 10% of new infections being Omicron, and then it goes up the next week to 20%, that would tell us that we’re in a replacement wave such as we saw when Delta replaced Alpha,” said John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

-With Reuters

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters here. Sign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.

[wpdevart_facebook_comment title_text="Comments" title_text_color="#000000" title_text_font_size="22" title_text_font_family="monospace" title_text_position="left" width="100%" bg_color="#CCCCCC" animation_effect="random" count_of_comments="5" ]