ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Monday to update New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.
The governor announced that the Wadsworth lab confirmed a case of the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 variant.
“Wadsworth lab confirmed a case of the U.K. strain in Saratoga County, New York,” 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.”
He also said that the man who tested positive works at a jewelry store. There have been three other positive cases linked to that store, but they have not been confirmed to have the UK strain.
The governor said 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,” Cuomo said.
New York State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said 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.
On day 310 of the pandemic in New York, the governor provided the following data:
- 134,360 COVID-19 tests processed statewide Sunday
- 8.34% positivity rate overall statewide
- 9.85% positivity rate in micro-cluster hotspots
- 7.78% positivity rate outside micro-cluster hotspots
- 170 new COVID-19 deaths statewide Sunday
- 8,251 hospitalizations
- 1,357 in ICU
- 843 intubations