ALBANY – The first confirmed case of COVID-19’s ‘U.K. Strain’ has been identified in New York State.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during a conference call with the media on Monday afternoon.
He says the Wadsworth lab confirmed the case of the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 variant.
“Wadsworth lab confirmed a case of the U.K. strain in Saratoga County, New York,” Gov. Cuomo said. “He’s a man in his 60s who had some symptoms. He did not travel recently so evidence suggests it’s in the community.”
The governor says this strain is 70% more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain and he said contact tracing is paramount to keep the spread of the strain under control.
Wadsworth Laboratory, based in Albany, began research into a new strain of COVID-19, which was first spotted in the United Kingdom, in late December.
“I think this strain is more prevalent than people know,” Gov. Cuomo said.
New York State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker says this strain is more transmissible, but there’s no evidence yet that it isn’t affected by vaccines, or that it is more dangerous for people who are infected.
It was the second update of the day from the governor, following a Monday morning briefing where he provided new statewide numbers regarding the pandemic and declared the Finger Lakes region is the state’s “greatest problem” at present.