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Highly Contagious UK Strain of COVID-19 Virus Discovered in Saratoga Springs

An employee of n. Fox Jewelers on Broadway is the first known person infected by the new strain in New York State.

In a conference call with journalists on Monday, January 4, Governor Cuomo announced that the first case of the UK strain of COVID was discovered in Saratoga Springs. (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Saratoga Springs is making headlines today—but for all the wrong reasons. According to CNBC, a 60-year-old man, who worked at n. Fox Jewelers in Saratoga Springs, has become the first New Yorker to test positive for the new, highly contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus that originated in the UK.

On Monday afternoon, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that the case of the UK variant (or B.1.1.7) had been identified by the Wadsworth Lab in Albany, noting that the man, who is already recovering from the virus, hadn’t traveled recently. This means that he was likely infected within the Saratoga community (i.e. it’s already been here). Three other employees at the jewelry store, which has been closed since December 24, also tested positive for COVID, but it’s unclear whether those other cases were also the UK strain of the virus.

“We are asking anyone who visited n. Fox Jewelers in Saratoga Springs, NY, between December 18 and December 24, to please get tested as soon as possible,” said the governor’s office in a statement.

The new COVID strain, which was originally discovered in the UK, has already turned up in California, Florida and Colorado, and though it is much more easily transmitted from person to person, doesn’t appear to be more virulent.

At press time, Saratoga County’s positivity rate is hovering around 10 percent, with 6,360 total cases and 117 new positives.

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Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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