The first case of the South African mutant strain of COVID-19 has been identified in a resident of New York State.
The South African variant, like the highly contagious United Kingdom strain, contains a mutation called N501Y.V2 which is believed to make it more contagious than older variants. The South African variant also reportedly affects younger population more.
The person is a Long Island resident who lives in Nassau County, the governor's office announced on Sunday, Feb. 21.
It was announced on Monday, Feb. 15 that a Connecticut resident is being treated in New York City after being diagnosed with the South African strain.
As of Saturday, Feb. 20, the total number of New York statewide cases of the United Kingdom COVID variant is 136, with 54 new cases (39.7 percent).
A total of 77 of those 136 UK strain cases have been reported in New York City, with 46 of them being new cases.
The sequencing involving the Nassau County resident was conducted at Opentrons Labworks Inc's Pandemic Response Lab, a New York City-based commercial lab, and verified at the Wadsworth Center in Albany.
"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," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday. "We are in a race right now — between our ability to vaccinate and these variants which are actively trying to proliferate — and we will only win that race if we stay smart and disciplined."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.