Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the first confirmed case of the UK strain of COVID-19 virus has been detected in Saratoga Springs. The new strain was detected by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth laboratory as part of the state’s UK strain testing program. The strain was traced back to an individual affiliated with a Saratoga Springs jewelry store – N. Fox Jewelers located on 404 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY – and all individuals who visited the store from December 18 through December 24 are encouraged to contact the Department of Health and receive a COVID-19 test immediately.
“As you know, the State Department of Health has been aggressively looking for the UK strain of COVID, and we’re doing more testing than any state in the country and we’re doing more testing for the UK strain. The Wadsworth lab confirmed a case of the UK strain in Saratoga County, New York. It’s a gentleman who is in his 60s. He was symptomatic, but he is on the mend and he’s doing better. He did not travel recently, so this suggests that it’s in the community, it was community spread as opposed to having traveled to the UK, et cetera. He’s affiliated with a jewelry store in Saratoga. The sample was originally done in Saratoga Hospital and then was one of the samples that Wadsworth received as part of their UK testing program. There are 3 other cases in the jewelry store. We don’t know if they are the UK strain of COVID, we’re testing for them now. So, Wadsworth will run those, but we have 3 other people in the jewelry store who did test positive for COVID. The store was closed from December 24th through today, but we want people who visited the store from December 18th until the store closed on December 24th to get a test. The name of the store is “N” as in Nancy – N. Fox Jewelers. It’s located at 404 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.”
“So, if you went to the N. Fox Jewelers store in Saratoga Springs from December 18th through December 24th you should contact us and get a test immediately. From a public health point of view now it’s about contact tracing, and this UK strain is reported to be 70 percent more contagious than the normal COVID strain. So, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to do effective contact tracing on this case. And we’re going through the employees of the jewelry store, but as it was a retail establishment we need the cooperation of the public. With that, I’m joined by Dr. Zucker, and Melissa DeRosa, and Robert Mujica, and Beth Garvey, and Gareth Rhodes. We will take questions at this point. You know that the UK strain is technically the B117 strain, and it’s been identified in California, Colorado, Florida and 33 countries. And my guess is the states that are effective at looking for it will find it.”