Health officials have found the more contagious variant of COVID-19 associated with the United Kingdom in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, confirming that a worker in a jewelry store is infected with the virus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday afternoon.
Three other people who work at the store also have tested positive for COVID-19, but it is not yet known if they also had the UK mutated virus.
The person found to have the strain is his 60s and works at N. Fox Jewelers in Saratoga Springs. The state is asking people who visited the store at 404 Broadway between Dec. 19 and Dec. 24 to get tested and notify health authorities. The store had been closed since Dec. 24.
The man who contracted the new variant did not travel recently, “so this suggests this was in the community,” Cuomo said during a telephonic briefing with reporters.
The man had symptoms similar to more common strain of COVID-19 “but he’s on the mend and he’s doing better,” Cuomo said.
The so-called B117 variant also has been found in Colorado, California, Florida and 33 countries, he said. It is believed to spread more easily than the more predominant version of the virus. The state had not found the variant after sequencing thousands of samples last week.