COVID-19 variant found in upstate New York

Coronavirus

A patient is injected with the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic in Strasbourg, eastern France, Monday Jan. 4, 2021. (Jean-François Badias / AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York has found its first known case of a new variant of COVID-19 in upstate New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Monday telephone call with reporters said a man in his 60s tested positive for the COVID-19 variant, which is more contagious than its previous variants. The governor said the man, who works at a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs, had COVID-19 symptoms but is “on the mend.”

Three other people linked to the jewelry store have tested positive for COVID-19, but Cuomo said it’s unknown if they have the variant. Anyone who was in the store from Dec. 18 through Dec. 24 is urged to get tested.

The governor said the state Wadsworth laboratory can test for the variant in 40 hours, and said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention takes two weeks. He said the state has run about 5,000 tests so far for the variant, which he warned could lead to even more infections and hospitalizations as amid a holiday season surge.

“I think it is must more widespread than people known,” Cuomo said.

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