WESTERN NEW YORK – The U.K. variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Western New York.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during an update on New York’s progress in fighting the pandemic on Wednesday.
“The new strains are a real concern,” said Cuomo. “Everything I said about the holiday surge, we anticipated it. It happened. It’s over. The new strains are a real concern and the COVID threat is not over.”
He says cases of the U.K. variant have been found in Niagara County, along with cases in Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Saratoga, Tompkins Onondaga, Essex and Warren Counties.
This brings the total cases of the U.K. variant statewide to 42. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the variant has been detected in 26 states nationwide.
“We still have to be careful about hospital capacity,” he furthered. “If we run out of hospital capacity I am telling you today. Why? It will happen. It will happen because a new strain happens and the staff winds up sick. The hospitals will say I don’t have enough staff for the beds and their capacity will come down. The only way you prevent that is vaccinate the health care staff.”
Coronavirus variants showing-up across the United States are starting to impact testing for the virus.
On Wednesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is asking medical developers to make sure tests can detect the virus, even as it continues to mutate.
One FDA Director says the agency is staying vigilant in monitoring how the variants impact test accuracy.
As for how the vaccine will handled the new strain, Moderna says two doses of its vaccine should protect against known variations that have emerged.