Gov. Cuomo: New COVID variant found in man who works at NY jewelry store

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021
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Jim Dolan has more on the first reported case of the highly contagious COVID variant in New York and what the state is doing to ramp up vaccinations.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a case of the new, highly contagious COVID variant has been identified in Saratoga, New York.

The case was detected in a symptomatic man in his 60s, who works at a jewelry store, N. Fox Jewelers, in Saratoga Springs.

He says that he did not travel recently, suggesting community spread.

"The symptoms are not more severe, and he appears to be on the mend," Cuomo said. "It apparently has no difference from the vaccine point of view -- not more deadly but it is more transmittable, which means higher positivity rate, higher infection rate, higher hospitalization rate."

Three other people associated with the store have tested positive for COVID, but it is not yet clear if those three cases are the new strain or not.

The state's lab in Wadsworth is running tests on them now.

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"From a public health point of view, it's about contact tracing," Cuomo said. "We have to make sure we are doing everything we can do to effective contact tracing of this case."

Cuomo said the state has conducted 5,000 tests for the new strain and suspected if other states tested for it as robustly they, too, would detect it.

The jewelry store was closed from December 24 through Monday, January 4.

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The state is asking anyone who went to the store from December 18 through December 24 to contact them and get a test immediately.

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