First new COVID pressure New York found in Spa Metropolis
ALBANIA – The first confirmed case of the UK’s COVID-19 virus strain in New York State was discovered in Saratoga Springs, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Jan. 4.
The new strain was discovered by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory as part of the state’s UK strain testing program and traced back to someone associated with N. Fox Jewelers on Broadway.
“It’s a gentleman in his sixties. He was symptomatic, but he is getting better and better, ”said Cuomo. The sample was originally done at Saratoga Hospital and was then one of the samples Wadsworth received as part of his UK testing program. Three others in the jewelry store tested positive for COVID-19, but it was not immediately known whether this was part of the UK strain as well.
First discovered in the UK, the variant of COVID is 70 percent more contagious than the normal strain of COVID, although it is not believed to be any more deadly on its own.
“It seems to be a bit easier to spread and a bit faster to spread than the virus we know,” said Mike McEvoy, EMS coordinator for Saratoga County. “At this point in time, it doesn’t seem like people are getting sick or causing different types of disease, and they seem to be able to be vaccinated against them with the same vaccine. It affects us in a sense that if there were widespread outbreaks, more people would be sick faster in the community and our ability to care for these people in public health and hospitals could potentially be affected by the health speed we do seen in other places, ”said McEvoy.
“The most important thing is the message we’ve been preaching since March or April: wear your mask, wash your hands as often as possible, and try to limit your social interaction with large groups of people. Stick with people you know. ”
The state health department initiated what is known as “aggressive contact tracing” of people who may have visited the jeweler between December 18 and 24 to find out if the specific strain of the virus infected others. Starting Tuesday, January 5th, the department set up a free testing area near the Peerless Pool in Spa State Park specifically for people who had contact or were in the Spa City jewelry store from December 18th to December 24th UK COVID strain testing. Pre-registration was required. New York State health commissioner Howard Zucker said it takes about 44 hours to get the results on what is known as the B117 strain.
N. Fox Jewelers released a brief statement stating that it is working with the State Health Department on the UK COVID-19 strain tracking and is voluntarily extending the closure of its business until further information can be provided by state and regional health authorities . The shop reopened late that week.
“Containment is critical,” said Cuomo. “This is a virus that we need to be extra careful with. The numbers are horrifying as transmission (of this strain) of the virus increases. While lethality doesn’t increase, the fact that it’s so much more transmissible is a very real problem. ”