ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A more virulent strain of COVID-19 first found in the United Kingdom has been identified in Essex County.
It’s that county’s first known case of the variant and the first known to be in northern New York.
In a Facebook post, the Essex County Health Department said it was notified late Wednesday by state health officials that the strain was found in a county resident.
The case was identified by random sampling at the state’s Wadsworth laboratory as part of ongoing surveillance efforts.
The U.K. strain is believed to be 50 percent more contagious than the original and experts say it could become the dominant strain by March.
It’s still unclear if the strain is more deadly and if it’s resistant to current vaccines.