NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The South African coronavirus variant has been identified in a New York state resident for the first time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.
The variant was identified in a Nassau County resident, Cuomo said.
Sequencing of the mutant strain was done by a New York City–based commercial lab and verified at the Wadsworth Center in Albany.
Last week, a Connecticut resident who had been hospitalized in New York City was found to have the South African variant.
There is evidence that the variant is more transmissible and that it may diminish the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“With the discovery of a case of the South African variant in the state, it’s more important than ever for New Yorkers to stay vigilant, wear masks, wash hands and stay socially distanced,” Cuomo said in a statement.
In a statement, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, “We don’t believe the South African variant is more deadly, but it may be more contagious.”
“The best response is to continue the tried-and-true precautions: wearing masks, avoiding social gatherings, distancing, staying home and getting tested when sick,” Curran said. “Nassau County is New York’s leading large county in vaccinations according to state data, and we’ll continue to get as many shots in arms as quickly as we can.”
Dozens of cases of the U.K. coronavirus variant, also believed to be more transmissible, have been found across the state as well, with the largest share of cases in New York City.