Long Island now has 4 cases of UK COVID variant

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York now has 15 confirmed cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, after three additional cases of the strain were detected in Warren County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release Wednesday.

The governor said there appears to be two clusters of the strain in the state.

One cluster includes two cases in Suffolk County, two cases in Nassau County and one from Queens.

Another cluster in upstate New York has been linked to a jewelry store in Saratoga County, where the state's first case of the variant was found last week.

In that cluster, four cases are in Saratoga County and two in Warren County.

"Three additional cases in Warren County are under investigation for their link to this cluster, but have yet to be confirmed," the governor said.

The final case was identified in Manhattan and is not connected to either cluster.

The governor is urging residents to remain vigilant as the state faces this new threat.

"We need New Yorkers to remember that we aren't out of the woods yet," Cuomo said. "The vaccine is the weapon that ends the war, but we're locked in a footrace between its quick distribution and the spread of new cases. New Yorkers can get through this together, but it will require a willingness to take precautions not just for themselves, but for others. Wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay socially distanced. New York State is working to expand testing capacity and hospital capacity, but it will take all of us to get to the light at the end of the tunnel."

New York reported 14,577 new coronavirus cases Wednesday. There are 8,929 hospitalized, with 1,501 in the ICU and 924 patients intubated.

The state had 165 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the death toll to 32,175.