Officials say "this is a critical reminder we are far from out of the woods yet."

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On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 15 more cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 were identified in New York State, including the first known case in Ulster County. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan also confirmed the county's first case of the more contiguous strain of coronavirus.

“Today we were notified by the New York State Health Department that an Ulster County resident has tested positive for the UK strain of COVID-19. This is a critical reminder that while we have made great strides in fighting this virus, we are far from out of the woods yet. I ask that all residents remain vigilant and proactive to blunt any further spread of the virus," Ryan said in a press release. "We must continue to social distance, wear masks, avoid gatherings, and take all precautions necessary. As County Executive, I will continue to do everything within my power to advocate for additional vaccines and ensure that the distribution of available doses is done safely, quickly, and equitably.”

The first case of the UK  variant of the virus in New York was found in early January in a man from Saratoga County. The man has had no known travel history, which suggests community spread of the highly contagious UK strain in New York.

In Mid-January the Mid-Hudson Region reported its first case of the UK variant. The case was found in Westchester County.

To date, there are 59 known cases of the variant in New York State in the following counties:

  • Jefferson,
  • Niagara,
  • Allegany,
  • Tompkins,
  • New York City,
  • Westchester,
  • Nassau,
  • Suffolk,
  • Saratoga,
  • Ulster,
  • Onondaga,
  • Warren
  • Essex Counties.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a strict national lockdown to stop the spread of the new variant.

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