Health officials have confirmed cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday evening. A 67-year-old woman from Suffolk County, two Queens residents, a Brooklyn resident and a fifth person believed to be a visitor to the state tested positive. Their vaccination statuses weren't immediately clear, but the woman from Suffolk County had received at least one dose, Hochul said. After a slow start, the United States has improved its surveillance system for tracking new coronavirus variants such as omicron, boosting its capacity by tens of thousands of samples per week since early this year.